WASHINGTON — Just how harmful to one’s health is vaping? A new study finds that people who use e-cigarettes face a significantly higher risk of a heart attack, coronary artery disease, and depression compared to people who use no tobacco products.
E-cigarettes, also known as “vapes” or “e-cigs,” are battery-operated, handheld devices that many believe is a “healthier” alternative to smoking or chewing traditional tobacco. The devices heat a liquid in their cartridges typically made from a mixture of nicotine and solvent carriers such as glycerol, propylene, and/or ethylene glycol, and a potentially wide range of flavors and other chemical additives. The liquid is heated to a high temperature to create an aerosol, or vapor, which is inhaled and exhaled. Researchers estimate that 460 brands of e-cigarettes carry over 7,700 different flavors today.
While e-cigarettes were first introduced in 2007, their popularity has soared in recent years, particularly among high schoolers. Sales of e-cigarettes and related products have seen a 14-fold increase in the past decade, researchers say.
The study used data from 96,467 respondents to the National Health Interview Survey, which is led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers collected data from 2014, 2016, and 2017. They examined rates of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, coronary artery disease, diabetes, and anxiety or depression in those who reported daily or intermittent e-cigarette use. They compared these numbers to non-users. On average, those who used e-cigarettes were typically younger than nonusers.
Compared to nonusers, e-cigarette users were 56% more likely to have a heart attack and 30% more likely to suffer a stroke. Users were also 10% more likely to battle coronary artery disease, and 44%at greater risk of circulatory problems, like blood clots.
“Until now, little has been known about cardiovascular events relative to e-cigarette use. These data are a real wake-up call and should prompt more action and awareness about the dangers of e-cigarettes,” says lead author Dr. Mohinder Vindhyal, assistant professor at the University of Kansas School of Medicine Wichita, in a release by the American College of Cardiology.
When it came to mental health, people who use e-cigarettes were found to be twice as likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and other common emotional problems.
Meanwhile, people who smoked traditional cigarettes were found to have a 165% higher likelihood of suffering a heart attack, a 94% greater risk of coronary artery disease, and a 78% increase in risk of stroke when compared to nonsmokers.
The study is being presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session in New Orleans.