Two new studies have emerged that show an unsettling link between electronic cigarette usage and heart health.
Data from the studies — set to be presented and discussed at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2019 in Philadelphia this week, according to healthline.com — show that both cholesterol and integral blood flow are impacted by vaping, and perhaps even more so than regular cigarettes.
In one small study of 19 smokers between the ages of 24 and 32, Dr. Florian Rader led a group of researchers to analyze the effect of both regular and e-cigarettes on how blood pumped through the body.
His team found that “in smokers who use e-cigs, blood flow decreased after both inhalation at rest and after handgrip stress,” he told healthline.com.
“These results indicate that e-cig use is associated with persistent coronary vascular dysfunction at rest, even in the absence of physiologic stress,” Rader added.
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According to NBC News, the difference in regular smokers was that blood flow in participants who smoked regular cigarettes seemed to go back to its normal process after exercise — which was not the case with e-cigarette users.
“It’s evidence that there’s something wrong with the blood flow regulation in smokers and maybe even more so in e-cigarette smokers,” Rader, who serves as medical director of the Human Physiology Laboratory and assistant director of the Noninvasive Laboratory at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Smidt Heart Institute in L.A., told NBC News.
“These products are marketed as healthy alternatives, and yet we see more and more evidence that they’re definitely not healthy,” he added of e-cigarettes.
Additionally, a larger study set to be presented on this week at the Philadelphia event showed that LDL cholesterol — “bad” cholesterol linked to a more serious risk of heart disease — was present at higher levels in e-cigarette users than non-smokers, seemingly debunking the myth that e-cigarette use is “healthier” than traditional cigarettes.
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The latter study was conducted by researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine including Dr. Sana Majid, who is a postdoctoral fellow in vascular biology at the school.
Consisting of 476 participants (regular cigarette users, e-cigarette users, those who used both products and non-smokers) who were deemed healthy and without heart disease ahead of the experiment, the larger study’s results represent “a snapshot of what is happening right now” inside people who use e-cigarettes, Majid told NBC News.
And despite the alarming findings, she notes that when it comes to long-term effects on the