People who use e-cigarettes are more likely to have heart problems and depression than those who don’t, says a US study released on Thursday.
The rate of heart attacks among those who vape is 34% higher compared to those who don’t. Additionally, when controlling for cardiovascular risk variables such as age and body mass index, e-cigarette users were 55% more likely than nonusers to suffer from depression or anxiety. E-cigarette users were also 25% more likely to have coronary artery disease, the study says.
“Until now, little has been known about cardiovascular events relative to e-cigarette use,” said the study’s lead author, Dr Mohinder Vindhyal, an assistant professor at the University of Kansas Wichita’s School of Medicine. “This data is a real wake-up call and should prompt more action and awareness about the dangers of e-cigarettes,” he said.
“Cigarette smoking carries a much higher probability of heart attacks and strokes than e-cigarettes, but that doesn’t mean that vaping is safe,” said Dr Vindhyal.
He noted that some e-cigarettes contain nicotine and release toxic compounds very similar to tobacco smoking. Nicotine can quicken the heart rate and raise blood pressure.
E-cigarettes are sometimes called e-cigs, vapes, e-hookahs, vape pens or electronic nicotine delivery systems. They all are battery-operated, handheld devices that mimic the experience of smoking a cigarette.
E-cigarettes work by heating the e-liquid, which may contain a combination of nicotine, solvent carriers and any number of flavours and other chemicals, to a high enough temperature to create an aerosol or “vapour” that is inhaled and exhaled. According to Dr Vindhyal, there are now more than 460 brands of e-cigarettes and over 7,700 flavours.
An estimated one in 20 Americans now use e-cigarettes and they have been linked to a rise in teen smoking for years, due in large part to those tempting vape pen flavours that can lead some teens toward traditional cigarette smoking.
The research study findings, published in a press release, will be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 68th Annual Scientific Session in New Orleans, which begins on March 16. The study, which involved 96,467 e-cigarette users from the US, also compared data for reported tobacco smokers and non-smokers.