May 28, 2019
It seems like the one thing that we know about the effects of electronic cigarette use is that we don’t know much — and that’s per experts nationwide. However, a new study out of Stanford University provides a little more insight: the flavorings in e-cigarette cartridges may be harmful to the heart.
Published Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers looked into how e-liquids impact the cells that line blood vessels, called endothelial cells, which play a big role in heart health, the study’s release explains.
What they found, per the release, is that — in a lab-grown setting — the cells that were exposed to e-liquids appeared to be less “viable” and showed signs of cell damage and death. Researchers also found that the cells were less able to move throughout the body and heal themselves.
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Researchers found cinnamon and menthol flavors to be particularly harmful to the heart, though the extent of damage varies among e-liquid flavors and nicotine concentration, the release explains.
Dr. Joseph Wu, director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute and senior author of the research, is quoted in the release saying:
"When you're smoking a traditional cigarette, you have a sense of how many cigarettes you're smoking," Wu said. "But e-cigarettes can be deceptive. It's much easier to expose yourself to a much higher level of nicotine over a shorter time period. And now we know that e-cigarettes are likely to have other significantly toxic effects on vascular function as well. It's important for e-cigarette users to realize that these chemicals are circulating within their bodies and affecting their vascular health."
The Associated Press notes that while this study is small and can’t prove the harm of vaping, it does have the ability to inspire further safety testing, which would be beneficial due to the high rates of vape use — especially in young teens.