Over the past few years, many smokers have switched to e-cigarettes, believing that they are not as risky as smoking regular cigarettes because they are avoiding the cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco smoke. Little is known about the health effects of using e-cigarettes because they are a relatively recent invention, but studies are showing that the chemicals used for vaping may carry risks of their own.
A new study conducted by Dr. Joseph Wu, director of Stanford University’s cardiovascular institute, and his team appeared to find that the flavorings used in e-cigarette liquids may be bad for the heart. In particular, they appeared to damage the endothelial cells that support heart and cardiovascular health. The results of the study have been published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
For the study, the researchers looked at the effects of caramel, cinnamon, fruit, menthol, sweet tobacco, sweet butterscotch and vanilla e-cigarette flavors on endothelial cells, which line blood vessels. The cells that were exposed to the flavored e-liquids showed signs of cell damage and death. This type of damage can ultimately lead to cardiovascular disease. The cinnamon and menthol flavors were found to be particularly harmful.
This research is consistent with other studies that show e-cigarettes can elevate the risk for heart attacks, strokes and depression. In a press release about the study, Dr. Wu said, “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.”