Vaping Is Still Bad, and In Some Cases Possibly Worse for Your Heart Than Traditional Tobacco
When vaping was first introduced in 2007, many proponents considered it a healthier alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes and tobacco which are often laced with toxic chemicals. By inhaling an aerosol of purer liquid nicotine or even THC, there would be no toxins entering the lungs.
Unfortunately, the group that has most taken to vaping has been a younger generation of more health-conscious consumers that did not want the smell and health considerations of traditional smoking, however still felt the need for nicotine or THC. As a result, while traditional smoking has been on the decline, we have seen a significant increase year after year in vaping. In fact, it is estimated that 1 in 20 Americans now use e-cigarettes.
However, we have also seen the very tragic results of vaping, most recently in the form of thousands of serious lung problems that have sent otherwise healthy young people to the emergency room either requiring intensive care, surgery or even lung transplants.
However, even the small amount of research on vaping thus far has uncovered significant negative health effects of vaping on the heart.
The first of these larger studies “Impact on Cardiovascular Outcomes among E-Cigarette Users: A review from National Health Interview Surveys,” presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 68th Annual Scientific Session concluded that vaping can increase the risk of heart attack, coronary heart disease and depression. And the results are shocking. Those using E cigarettes were 56% more likely to have a heart attack than nonusers and 30% more likely to have a stroke. Even depression and anxiety risk was doubled. Almost 100,000 responses from the survey were used to develop the data. With that said, the same study concluded that those smoking tobacco showed even higher risk for heart attack, stroke and coronary artery disease.
The second study performed at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, while much smaller, sought to understand the effects of abstinence, tobacco smoking and vaping on blood flow in the heart. Study participants were asked to smoke or vape at rest and then while performing mild physiologically stressful activity. The group that did not smoke or vape had an appropriate blood flow reaction in the heart both at rest and to the exercise. The group that smoked traditional tobacco showed some increase in blood flow to the heart at rest, and lowered blood flow during stress. Shockingly, the study participants who vaped showed lower blood flow both at rest and when performing mild exercise. While the sample size was extremely small and therefore somewhat unreliable, the researchers felt it important enough to present these findings at a recent American Heart Association scientific session.
The bottom line is that regardless of the risk of e-cigarette’s versus traditional tobacco, vaping still creates a stunningly high risk profile for those who use. More importantly, with the decline in tobacco use after decades of public service announcements and anti-smoking campaigns, we are seeing many of those gains reversed due to the significant increase in popularity of vaping. Beyond the heart, there is a significant black market in vape liquid that can include additives and thickening agents they can have serious consequences on the lungs, the heart and other parts of the body. Ultimately, abstinence is the only way to keep your risk of heart disease lower.