New research suggests e-cigarettes may be more harmful to heart health than traditional cigarettes. The American Heart Association (AHA) presented two new studies at its annual Scientific Sessions meeting in Philadelphia earlier this month.
The studies found, as reported by Market Watch, that vaping has a negative impact on heart disease factors, such as cholesterol levels, and vaping e-cigarettes seems to decrease blood flow to the heart worse than traditional cigarettes.
The first study analyzed nearly 500 healthy adults between the ages of 21 and 45 who had no existing heart disease. Of the group, 94 were nonsmokers; 45 were e-cig smokers; 52 used both traditional cigarettes and e-cigs; and 285 were traditional cigarette smokers.
The results showed that healthy HDL cholesterol was lower in smokers who used both traditional and e-cigarettes, and unhealthy LDL cholesterol was higher in those who used only e-cigarettes.
The second, smaller study looked at 19 adult smokers between the ages of 24 and 32. Researchers analyzed the subjects’ heart blood flow—a measure of the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body—immediately before and after vaping e-cigarettes or smoking a traditional cigarette. Blood flow was measured while the subjects were at rest and after they did a handgrip exercise to simulate physical stress.
Traditional cigarette smoking is known to reduce blood flow during physical exercise, which normally increases under such circumstances. The study results were as expected in the traditional cigarette group: The subjects’ blood flow increased modestly at rest and then decreased during exercise. Researchers were surprised to find, however, that the e-cigarette group saw their blood flow decrease both at rest and after exercise.
Study co-author and Director of AHA’s Public Health Research Dr. Susan Cheng wrote: “We were surprised by our observation of the heart’s blood flow being reduced at rest, even in the absence of stress, following inhalation from the e-cigarette.”
Dr. Cheng had a message for healthcare providers about e-cigarettes: “Providers counseling patients on the use of nicotine products will want to consider the possibility that e-cigs may confer as much and potentially even more harm to users and especially patients at risk for vascular disease.”
These results support a study out of the University of Pennsylvania published in August 2019, which found vaping reduced blood flow for up to an hour after the e-cigarette was inhaled. The e-cigarettes used in that study did not contain nicotine, only flavorings and sweeteners, prompting researchers to warn that “a single e-cigarette can be harmful to the body’s blood vessels—even when the vapor is entirely nicotine-free.”
The AHA studies come as the number of vaping-related lung illnesses reach record numbers in the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2,172 cases of e-cigarette product use associated lung injury (EVALI) have been reported in every state except Alaska, and 42 deaths have been reported in 24 states, as of November 13, 2019.
The CDC warns consumers not to use vaping products that contain THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, because a majority of products used in these cases contain THC. The CDC has named vitamin E acetate, an ingredient used in many THC-containing vape products, as a potential contributing factor to the lung illnesses.
Despite warnings against THC-containing vapes, not all people affected by EVALI have reported using products that contain THC. The CDC, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as well as state and local agencies, continue to investigate the outbreak and what might be causing it.
“While it appears that vitamin E acetate is associated with EVALI, evidence is not yet sufficient to rule out contribution of other chemicals of concern to EVALI. Many different substances and product sources are still under investigation, and it may be that there is more than one cause of this outbreak,” the CDC states.
Regulators are also cracking down on e-cigarette manufacturers, especially JUUL Labs Inc., which dominated the e-cigarette market. JUUL has been accused of targeting teens in its advertising and contributing largely to the teen vaping epidemic.
JUUL has since stopped marketing on TV, in print, and online, and announced it would cut 650 employees and trim its marketing department.
Lawmakers in several states are also proposing e-cigarette bans, as well as bans on certain flavors that appeal to kids and young adults in an effort to turn around the teen vaping epidemic.
People who used vaping products and suffered adverse health effects are filing E-cigarette Lawsuits against JUUL, Blu, NJOY, and other major manufacturers of e-cigarettes.
If you used e-cigarettes and were subsequently injured, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Our team of experienced attorneys and case managers offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. Call us at 800-631-5656 or visit nationalinjuryadvocates.com today.