New Research Indicates Vaping is as Bad for Your Heart as Smoking

Vaping has been promoted as the safer alternative to smoking tobacco, but research shows this is not the case. Recent research indicates it is as harmful to the heart as smoking.

To date, numerous studies have shown that vaping can lead to lung damage, which has been referred to as popcorn lung. The medical term is bronchiolitis obliterans (BO), and it is called popcorn lung because the first people to have symptoms worked in popcorn factories.

The cause of popcorn lung is diacetyl, a food additive often added to vaping liquid. Additionally, vaping can cause lipoid pneumonia and primary spontaneous pneumothorax (collapsed lung), which may require emergency surgery. Another concern is the chemicals in vaping liquid may cause lung cancer. But, up until now, vaping was not closely associated with cardiovascular (heart) disease.

Vaping and Risk of Cardiovascular (Heart) Disease

A three-year study was conducted between March 2019 and March 2022 by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine. The data was based on three groups, people who vape, smoke, or did neither. The key findings demonstrated both vaping and smoking caused:

●      Irregular heart rate

●      Increased heart rate

●      Increased blood pressure.

The damaging effect of vaping has also been demonstrated in two recent studies published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology (ATVB). Both studies were supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The human study involved blood samples from 120 volunteers with a mix of smokers, vapers and people who didn’t smoke or vape. Both studies showed that vaping and e-cigarettes damage blood vessels, and combining vaping with smoking could be even more harmful than only smoking tobacco products.

“In our human study, we found that chronic e-cigarettes users had impaired blood vessel function, which may put them at increased risk for heart disease,” said Matthew L. Springer, PhD, a professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at the University of California in San Francisco, who ran both of the studies.

Vaping Toxic Chemicals

Unfortunately, we have more bad news about vaping. Although the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have prohibited certain ingredients, toxic chemicals form when the permitted ingredients combine when the liquid is heated to turn it into a vape you can smoke. Far from being a safer alternative, the vaping liquid is under-researched, and consequently, you are breathing in unknown toxins.

Toxicological tests carried out at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C, showed vaping activates sensory irritant receptors in the bronchi, which carry air to your lungs. The test results were analysed under the direction of  Sven-Eric Jordt, an associate professor of anesthesiology, pharmacology and cancer biology, at the university and further support the connection between vaping and heart problems. He said,

“Activation of sensory irritant receptors can increase the heart rate and, in predisposed people, can lead to an irregular heartbeat and higher blood pressure.”

How to Get Help to Stop Smoking and Vaping

Whether you smoke tobacco, vape liquid with or without nicotine or do a mixture of both, you increase your risk of heart problems, cardiovascular disease and lung damage. It may seem like vaping has been around forever, but it is still relatively new. This means there may be other long-term effects that current research can not yet demonstrate.

Help to stop smoking and vaping; one-to-one and group support sessions are free through the NHS. Prescriptions can also be provided for nicotine replacement products, reducing the price considerably. Another option you can access through the NHS is a prescription medication called Zyban (bupropion) tablets which help reduce withdrawal symptoms.