Nav: Home

Vaping not worth potential heart risk, researchers say

November 07, 2019

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Science hasn't yet caught up with electronic cigarettes, leaving health care providers and users with many unknowns. But a new review of the research so far finds growing evidence that vaping can harm the heart and blood vessels.

"Many people think these products are safe, but there is more and more reason to worry about their effects on heart health," said Loren Wold, senior author of the study, published today (Nov. 7, 2019) in the journal Cardiovascular Research.

In addition to nicotine, e-cigarettes contain particulate matter, metals and flavorings - all of which could contribute to cardiovascular problems, said Wold, director of biomedical research at The Ohio State University College of Nursing and a professor in the College of Medicine.

Fine particles found in air pollution enter the bloodstream and directly affect the heart, and the current data, while far from conclusive, shows that the same may be true for e-cigarettes, he said.

Some studies in animals and humans have documented immediate negative effects including increases in blood pressure, heart rate, stiffness in the arteries, inflammation and oxidative stress. All are linked to heart disease over time.

"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," Wold said.

The study focused solely on cardiovascular health.

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 Organization.

This research review points to a need for larger-scale, longer-term research, but Wold said it also should give users pause and highlight a need for e-cigarette regulation so that companies will have to tell customers exactly what they're inhaling. That transparency is especially important, Wold said, because products are ever-changing.

"Especially 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," said Nicholas Buchanan, the study's lead author and a research assistant at Ohio State.

The studies that have been done are only valid for the particular product that was studied, he said.

"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," he said. "For example, recent reports of vaping-related illnesses and deaths has yet to be narrowed down to a single substance or product. While the use of THC-containing products seems to be associated to these cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that the illnesses don't appear confined to only these types of products."

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.

"Most worrisome are the numbers of children and teens who are picking up the habit - who may have never started smoking conventional cigarettes. We have no idea what the health implications are for them down the road," Buchanan said.

Most of the limited human research that's out there has focused on adults - typically adults who have a history of smoking - making any conclusions about young people hard to draw, he said.

Other unknowns include the potential impact on the fetus if a mother smokes, and on children and adults who are exposed to secondhand chemicals released by the devices, Wold said.
-end-
Jacob Grimmer, Vineeta Tanwar, Neill Schwieterman and Peter Mohler - all of Ohio State - also worked on the study.

The National Institutes of Health supported this research.

CONTACT: Loren Wold, 614-292-0627; Loren.Wold@osumc.edu

Written by Misti Crane, 614-292-5220; Crane.11@osu.edu

Ohio State University

Related Smoking Articles:

Telomere length unaffected by smoking
A new study has surprised the medical world, finding that smoking does not shorten the length of telomeres -- a marker at the end of our chromosomes that is widely accepted as an indicator of aging.
Want to quit smoking? Partner up
Kicking the habit works best in pairs. That's the main message of a study presented today at EuroPrevent 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
Smoking and mortality in Asia
In this analysis of data from 20 studies conducted in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and India with more than 1 million participants, deaths associated with smoking continued to increase among men in Asia grouped by the years in which they were born.
Predictors of successfully quitting smoking among smokers registered at the quit smoking clinic at a public hospital in northeastern Malaysia
In the current issue of Family Medicine and Community Health, Nur Izzati Mohammad et al. consider how cigarette smoking is one of the risk factors leading to noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory system diseases and cancer.
Restaurant and bar smoking bans do reduce smoking, especially among the highly educated
Smoking risk drops significantly in college graduates when they live near areas that have completely banned smoking in bars and restaurants, according to a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
How the UK smoking ban increased wellbeing
Married women with children reported the largest increase in well-being following the smoking bans in the UK in 2006 and 2007 but there was no comparable increase for married men with children.
Smoking study personalizes treatment
A simple blood test is allowing Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) researchers to determine which patients should be prescribed varenicline (Chantix) to stop smoking and which patients could do just as well, and avoid side effects, by using a nicotine patch.
A biophysical smoking gun
While much about Alzheimer's disease remains a mystery, scientists do know that part of the disease's progression involves a normal protein called tau, aggregating to form ropelike inclusions within brain cells that eventually strangle the neurons.
A case where smoking helped
A mutation in the hemoglobin of a young woman in Germany was found to cause her mild anemia.
No safe level of smoking
People who consistently smoked an average of less than one cigarette per day over their lifetime had a 64 percent higher risk of earlier death than people who never smoked.
More Smoking News and Smoking Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Risk
Why do we revere risk-takers, even when their actions terrify us? Why are some better at taking risks than others? This hour, TED speakers explore the alluring, dangerous, and calculated sides of risk. Guests include professional rock climber Alex Honnold, economist Mariana Mazzucato, psychology researcher Kashfia Rahman, structural engineer and bridge designer Ian Firth, and risk intelligence expert Dylan Evans.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#541 Wayfinding
These days when we want to know where we are or how to get where we want to go, most of us will pull out a smart phone with a built-in GPS and map app. Some of us old timers might still use an old school paper map from time to time. But we didn't always used to lean so heavily on maps and technology, and in some remote places of the world some people still navigate and wayfind their way without the aid of these tools... and in some cases do better without them. This week, host Rachelle Saunders...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dolly Parton's America: Neon Moss
Today on Radiolab, we're bringing you the fourth episode of Jad's special series, Dolly Parton's America. In this episode, Jad goes back up the mountain to visit Dolly's actual Tennessee mountain home, where she tells stories about her first trips out of the holler. Back on the mountaintop, standing under the rain by the Little Pigeon River, the trip triggers memories of Jad's first visit to his father's childhood home, and opens the gateway to dizzying stories of music and migration. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.