Vaping could damage the heart, according to researchers who say the habit is not worth the risk until more facts about its impact on health are known.
A study published in the Cardiovascular Research journal today found the widespread belief that vaping and the use of e-cigarettes were safe could be flawed.
Fine particles found in air pollution are known to enter the bloodstream and directly affect the heart, with early research suggesting the same may be true for e-cigarettes.
Loren Wold, a director of biomedical research at Ohio State University, said science had yet to fully investigate the effects of vaping. He added: “Many people think these products are safe, but there is more and more reason to worry about their effects on heart health.”
He said e-cigarettes had ingredients such as metals, flavouring and particulate matter as well as nicotine which could contribute to heart problems.
Particulates in the blood stream can increase blood pressure, heart rate, stiffness in the arteries and inflammation, which are all linked to heart disease.
Dr Wold said: “We know these problems are seen in these studies looking at the short-term effects of vaping, but that research is inconsistent and the impact of chronic e-cigarette use is an outright mystery. The potential harm to the heart over time is essentially unstudied.”
Vaping has increased from around 7 million users in 2011 to 41 million in 2018 with a projected increase to more than 55 million by 2021, according to the World Health Organisation.
Traditional cigarette smoking is the most preventable risk factor for cardiovascular disease and death. Because of vaping’s perceived safety in comparison, many smokers have switched to e-cigarettes or a combination of the two.
Nicholas Buchanan, the study’s lead author and a research assistant at Ohio State University, added: “For someone who has never smoked, it is just not worth the risk and it seems pretty conclusive that you can say they’re not harm-free.
“There’s a vast variety of e-liquids and different devices out there and the manufacturers don’t have to tell you what’s in them.”
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