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November 11, 2019

E-cigarettes are as dangerous to smokers' hearts as traditional cigarettes – maybe more so

Findings were presented during annual American Heart Association conference in Philadelphia

Prevention E-cigarettes
e-cigarettes harm heart more tobacco Thorn Yang/Pexels

E-cigarettes may increase the risk of coronary vascular dysfunction more than regular tobacco, according to a new study by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

E-cigarettes may be more harmful to the heart than traditional cigarettes, according to a new study from researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

The study, presented at the annual American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2019 in Philadelphia, found that while regular tobacco cigarettes may increase a person's risk for heart attack, e-cigarette use increases those odds just the same, if not more. 

Researchers studied a group of healthy, young adult smokers, ages 18 to 38, and separated them into two groups: e-cigarette users and regular tobacco users. They measured the blood flow to the hearts of each participant – particularly the coronary vascular function – before and after smoking either an e-cigarette or a traditional cigarette. Blood flow rates were measured while a person was at rest and after performing a handgrip exercise that simulated physiological stress. 

They found that the blood flow of the e-cigarette users decreased both at rest and during the stress test. The blood flow rates for regular tobacco users slightly increased after inhaling from a cigarette at rest and then decreased following the stress activity. 

The findings suggest that e-cigarette use is associated with coronary vascular dysfunction, even at rest. "These findings indicate the opposite of what e-cigarette and vaping marketing is saying about their safety profile," Dr. Susan Cheng at Cedar-Sinai said. 

Researchers point to the "completely unknown bucket of manufactured products" that exist in e-cigarette vapor as the cause for the devices' increased association with heart problems. 

Most recently, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention obtained biological evidence from 29 patients that suggests vitamin E acetate could have caused some of the 2,000 lung illnesses connected e-cigarettes. This is the first time the CDC was able to determine a link to the widespread lung disease being blamed on vaping.

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