NOV 02, 2022 12:00 PM PDT

e-Cigarettes Pose Cardiovascular Health Risks Similar to Regular Cigarettes, Study Finds

WRITTEN BY: Ryan Vingum

e-Cigarettes quickly emerged as an alternative to traditional cigarettes. Many companies claimed that e-cigarettes, or vaping, offered a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, and could even offer some people a tool to help them stop smoking traditional cigarettes altogether. While vaping tools have not been around very long (and therefore have not given researchers time to study them as in-depth as traditional cigarettes), it’s clear that many vaping products contain chemicals that can have detrimental health impacts.

A team of researchers has recently shown that certain pod-based e-cigarettes can expose individuals to what are called volatile organic compounds, which can have an adverse effect on cardiovascular health similar to smoking traditional cigarettes. The team plans to present their findings at the upcoming meeting of the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2022.

Volatile organic compounds are found in a range of existing products, including cleaning products, cigarettes, and even vehicle exhaust. They can have a range of health impacts on people. The fact that they are so present in pod-based products is even more troubling given that these products are often marketed to a younger population and as a tool to help people looking to stop smoking. In an attempt to better understand the effects of volatile organic compounds and pod-based products, researchers conducted an observational study to look more closely.

As part of the study, researchers followed about 106 people between the ages of 18 and 45. Participants were part of one of three groups: people who used pod-based e-cigarettes (about 45% of participants), traditional cigarettes (about 20% of participants), and no tobacco use of any kind (about 35% of participants). All participants were free of any cardiovascular disease or related risk factors.

Researchers regularly measured vascular function and blood pressure both before and after participants used their product of choice. Measurements were taken in a single day, during a single clinic visit.

Overall findings found that pod-based e-cigarettes negatively affected blood vessel health in a way that was similar to how traditional cigarettes impacted blood vessel health. For example, researchers found that:

  • Participants using any type of tobacco product experienced higher blood pressure and heart rates.
  • Higher amounts of volatile organic compounds were positively associated with vascular health changes.

Sources: Eurekalert!; American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2022

About the Author
Master's (MA/MS/Other)
Science writer and editor, with a focus on simplifying complex information about health, medicine, technology, and clinical drug development for a general audience.
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