Vaping may cause heart problems too: Study

Vaping may cause heart problems too: Study
A man vaping, which is the act of inhaling water vapour through an electronic cigarette.
Photo: BH

Smokers have found vaping as a "healthier alternative" to regular cigarettes, but a recent series of tests has revealed that e-cigarettes damage key blood vessels.

During a large gathering of heart experts in Rome last week, Prof. Robert West of University College in London said that the devices "are far more dangerous than people realise."

"It would certainly be fair to say the study shows electronic cigarettes are not without any risk," West was quoted as saying in a New York Post report. "The critical question is how much risk?"

Last year, health officials claimed that e-cigarettes were 95 per cent safer than tobacco and that doctors would prescribe them alongside nicotine patches and gum to help smokers quit.

The new trials, however, revealed that vaping triggers levels of damage to key blood vessels similar to smoking tobacco, known as "arterial stiffness," a main predictor of heart disease.

To evaluate results, researchers tested adults' heart response after five minutes of smoking cigarettes during a typical 30-minute vaping session, the report said. They also discovered that vapers spent longer puffing than traditional smokers as the devices deliver nicotine at a slower rate.

"Vaping carries a fraction of the risk of smoking," Rosanna O'Connor, director of drugs, alcohol and tobacco at Public Health England said. "Yet many smokers are still not aware, which could be keeping people smoking rather than switching to a much less harmful alternative."

E-cig's popularity has risen in recent years, but it has been continuously dogged by concerns over its probability to introduce non-smokers to tobacco.

A 2014 study, meanwhile, revealed that fewer than one in 40 adults who switched to vaping to quit smoking successfully kicked the habit.

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