Research has shown that electronic cigarettes are as damaging to the heart as normal cigarettes. Scientists have found that continuous use of electronic cigarettes can significantly disrupt the function of the body’s blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart disease.
Although the negative effect of tobacco on the heart has long been known, less is known about the effect and harms of electronic cigarettes.
Now a study conducted in the US claims that the effect of electronic cigarettes on blood vessels is similar to the effect of smoking.
The researchers conducted two studies, one on humans and the other on mice. In the first study, they collected blood samples from 120 volunteers.
The volunteers consisted of long-term electronic cigarette users, long-term smokers, and those who did not use both.
Long-term electronic cigarette users were defined as those who used electronic cigarettes more than 5 times a week for more than three months. Long-term smokers were defined as people who smoked more than 5 cigarettes a day.
They then tested the ability of the molecules to move from one layer of blood cells to the other.
As the number of molecules that can pass through increases, so does the risk of heart disease. They also tested the blood vessels’ ability to release nitrogen monoxide, a chemical marker used to assess whether cells were functioning properly.
The study’s lead author, Matthew Springer, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco, said, “In our human study, we found that chronic electronic cigarette users had impaired blood vessel function, which could put them at higher risk for heart disease.”
“This suggests that chronic electronic cigarette users may experience a similar risk of vascular disease as chronic smokers,” Springer said.
In their study of mice, the scientists found that there was no single ingredient that could be removed from electronic cigarette vapor to stop the harmful effect on the heart.
“What I want to tell people is: just breathe fresh air and avoid using these products,” Professor Springer said.
Lisa Postow of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in the US said the results “provide more evidence that exposure to electronic cigarettes can lead to harmful cardiovascular health effects”.
About the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI): NHLBI is the global leader in conducting and supporting research in heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders that advances scientific knowledge, improves public health, and saves lives. For more information, visit www.nhlbi.nih.gov.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
References: Chronic E-Cigarette Use Impairs Endothelial Function on the Physiological and Cellular Levels. Mohammadi L, Han DD, Xu F, Huang A, Derakhshandeh R, Rao P, Whitlatch A, Cheng J, Keith RJ, Hamburg NM, Ganz P, Hellman J, Schick SF, Springer ML. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2022 Nov;42(11):1333-1350. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.121.317749. Epub 2022 Oct 26. PMID: 36288290.