Shock Study: E-Cigarettes May Be More Harmful Than Tobacco To Heart Health

Vaping Bad Heart Health

Landmark study presented at American Heart Association Scientific Sessions suggests the unknown products used to create vapors cause heart dysfunction.

A new study from researchers at the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai shows that electronic nicotine delivery systems, including devices such as e-cigarettes, maybe just as harmful to the heart, if not more, than traditional cigarettes. The findings were presented today at the annual American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2019.

“What makes e-cigarettes so harmful to the heart and lungs is not just nicotine,” said senior author Florian Rader, MD, MSc, medical director of the Human Physiology Laboratory and assistant director of the Non-Invasive Laboratory at the Smidt Heart Institute. “It’s the completely unknown bucket of manufactured products used to form vapors that are likely causing the most harm. This is what we believe is underlying the current public health problem.”

These findings come at a crucial time, as reports of lung-related e-cigarette injuries are increasing, even while many distributors continue to claim that using e-cigarettes is safe and can help tobacco cigarette smokers kick the habit.

“Our results suggest that e-cigarette use is associated with coronary vascular dysfunction at rest, even in the absence of physiologic stress. These findings indicate the opposite of what e-cigarette and vaping marketing is saying about their safety profile.”

— Susan Cheng, MD, MPH, MMsc

A recent study by the Food and Drug Administration found that 27.5% of high school students used e-cigarettes in 2019, compared to 20.8% in 2018. The same study also estimates 3.62 million middle and high school students were e-cigarette users in 2018.

In the Smidt Heart Institute study, the team of researchers compared healthy, young-adult smokers aged 18 to 38 who were regular users of e-cigarettes or tobacco cigarettes. The researchers then measured participants’ blood flow to the heart muscle—focusing on a measure of coronary vascular function—before and after sessions of either e-cigarette use or cigarette smoking, while participants were at rest and also after they performed a handgrip exercise which simulates physiologic stress.

In smokers who used traditional cigarettes, blood flow increased modestly after traditional cigarette inhalation and then decreased with subsequent stress. However, in smokers who used e-cigarettes, blood flow decreased after both inhalation at rest and also after handgrip stress.

“Our results suggest that e-cigarette use is associated with coronary vascular dysfunction at rest, even in the absence of physiologic stress,” said Susan Cheng, MD, MPH, MMsc, director of Public Health Research at the Smidt Heart Institute and director of Cardiovascular Population Sciences at the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center. “These findings indicate the opposite of what e-cigarette and vaping marketing is saying about their safety profile.”

The original concept and design of this study were initiated by the late Ronald G. Victor, MD, a foundational pioneer in cardiovascular physiology studies.

“We have known for decades that smoking increases your risk for heart attack and dying from heart disease,” said Christine Albert, MD, MPH, founding chair of the newly established Department of Cardiology at the Smidt Heart Institute. “Now, with this study, we have compelling evidence suggesting that newer methods of electronic nicotine delivery may be equally, or potentially more, harmful to your heart as traditional cigarettes.”

Given that e-cigarettes represent a relatively new product on the market, Albert cautions users that there may be a number of unforeseen health effects.

To better understand the potentially dangerous consequences of e-cigarettes, Rader, Cheng, and investigators in the Human Physiology Laboratory at the Smidt Heart Institute plan on studying the mechanisms underlying changes in heart and blood vessel flow seen in their work to date, as well as the effects of e-cigarette use across a more diverse population of study participants including those with existing cardiovascular risk.

“What we are learning from our own research, along with the work of others, is that use of any electronic nicotine delivery system should be considered with a high degree of caution until more data can be gathered,” said Rader.

5 Comments on "Shock Study: E-Cigarettes May Be More Harmful Than Tobacco To Heart Health"

  1. seems more like you have a biased agenda, citing this study which is junk science yet ignoring all the peer reviewed studies that show the benefits of ecigs.

  2. What about a study suggesting that Marlborough has been releasing tainted vapes which kill people with transmission fluid in it, mr Reporter, what do you know about that??? Time to legislate a vape juice ingredients law, so people know when they are smoking glycol and mint, so that low-IQ news reporters stop casting aspersions out of context. Sounds like the world is a worse place if we smoke unregulated crap which is 90% less likely to kill us than the regulated nicotine, perhaps 98%… I won’t read this nonsense study before they have enumerate a decent number of subjects and quantified how much Ecigs and cigarettes they smoke. The 40 people that died smoked vitamin grease, as if they could put vitamine E grease in Marlboroughs.

  3. Unfortunately, most people will read the title and move on, thinking yeah, vaping is worse then smoking. All the study actually tells us is that people doing both smoking and vaping have decreased blood flow which isn’t hard to believe!! If They did a study on people who did cocaine and also did cocaine and red bull of course the heart function of the later group would worse then those just on cocaine, then boom! You got your misleading headline that energy drinks worse then booger sugar! Why not have a group of former smokers who vape or people who vaped but never smoke? I envy the brits because it seems the jury is out across the pond that vaping while not necessarily “healthy” is definitely a healthier alternative for people who want to get off smoking also this study by the bbc on vaping and heart function just recently published. .Big tobacco will stop at nothing to demonize vaping so they can have a whole generation id millennials hooked on nicotine and no way to get it other then a good ole fashion cigarettes!!!

  4. Thank you, but there’s lot of people who recognize over me!

  5. So if I breath in smoke with crappy stuff in it it’s bad for my health huh who could see it’s coming totally shocked

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