Vaping raises risk of heart attack or stroke due to chemicals found in flavoring liquid
- Stanford University scientists tested the flavored ‘e-liquids’ used in the devices
- They found they damage the cells which line blood vessels, which could lead to cardiovascular disease
Vaping may raise the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke because of the flavorings in e-cigarettes.
Scientists who tested the flavored ‘e-liquids’ used in the devices found they damage the cells which line blood vessels, which could lead to cardiovascular disease.
Electronic cigarettes are far less of a health risk than conventional cigarettes because they do not contain the tobacco which causes lung cancer.
However they contain nicotine, which can narrow and harden the arteries, and often flavors to make the vapor they produce more appealing.
Stanford University scientists who tested the flavored ‘e-liquids’ used in the devices found they damage the cells which line blood vessels, which could lead to cardiovascular disease
Researchers at Stanford University tested six flavors, including fruit, tobacco flavors, cinnamon and menthol, on the cells which line blood vessels. They found the flavorings, including different levels of nicotine, caused DNA damage, cell death and inflammation.
Experts believe this damage to the cells which line blood vessels causes them to harden and form clots, suggesting heavy use of vaping could increase someone’s danger of a heart attack or stroke.
It follows evidence that people who use e-cigarettes are more likely to suffer a heart attack or coronary artery disease.
Dr Joseph Wu, who led the study from Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, said: ‘Until now, we had no data about how these e-liquids affect human endothelial cells.
‘This study clearly shows that e-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes. When we exposed the cells to six different flavors of e-liquid with varying levels of nicotine, we saw significant damage.
‘The cells were less viable in culture, and they began to exhibit multiple symptoms of dysfunction.’
E-cigarettes have been used by around three million British adults in the decade or so they have been available.
To see how they might affect arteries, researchers took cells from the blood of patients and ‘reprogrammed’ them using chemicals in the lab into the cells which line blood vessels. This avoided painful surgery to remove the cells naturally.
The cells were exposed to e-liquids flavored with fruit, tobacco, sweet tobacco with caramel and vanilla, sweet butterscotch, cinnamon and menthol.
The results, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, show the cells suffered increased stress, inflammation and in some cases death. The worst effects were seen for the cinnamon and menthol flavors, even when they did not contain nicotine.
Experts believe the flavors themselves may be toxic enough to cause damage in blood vessels.
Dr Wu said: ‘When you’re smoking a traditional cigarette, you have a sense of how many cigarettes you’re smoking. 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.’