Adults who vape are “significantly” more likely to have a heart attack, coronary artery disease and depression compared with those who don’t use them, new research suggests.
E-cigarette users were 56% more likely to have a heart attack and 30% more likely to suffer a stroke, compared to non-users.
After adjusting for known cardiovascular risk factors (such as age, sex, body mass index, and smoking), e-cigarette users were still 34% more likely to have a heart attack, 25% more likely to have coronary artery disease, and 55% more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety.
“Until now, little has been known about cardiovascular events relative to e-cigarette use,” said lead researcher Mohinder Vindhyal, assistant professor at the University of Kansas School of Medicine.
“This is a real wake-up call and should prompt more action and awareness about the dangers of e-cigarettes.”
The study is one of the largest to date looking at the relationship between e-cigarette use and health outcomes, using data from 96,467 people.
E-cigarettes work by heating an e-liquid, which may contain a combination of nicotine, solvent carriers and any number of flavours and other chemicals, to a high enough temperature to create a “vapour”. The vapour is then inhaled and exhaled by the user.
Vaping has risen in popularity since being introduced in 2007, with sales increasing nearly 14-fold in the last decade, researchers said. But e-cigarettes are also hotly debated—touted by some as a safer alternative to smoking tobacco, while others are concerned about their implications on public health.
Earlier this year, Public Health England (PHE) launched a campaign urging people to quit smoking by switching to an e-cigarette or using another type of quit aid. Around 2.5 million adults are using e-cigarettes in England, and they have helped thousands of people successfully quit smoking.
Yet the latest study into the health implications of using e-cigarettes does not bode well. Martin Dockrell, tobacco control lead for PHE, told HuffPost UK: “This confirms what PHE has been saying for several years: vaping isn’t risk free, but it is far less harmful than smoking.
“It’s a no brainer – switching to vaping will always be far less harmful than smoking. If you don’t smoke, don’t start and don’t vape. If you do smoke, quit now and consider using an e-cigarette to help you.”
Lead researcher Vindhyal said she wouldn’t want any of her patients or family members to vape. “When we dug deeper, we found that regardless of how frequently someone uses e-cigarettes, daily or just on some days, they are still more likely to have a heart attack or coronary artery disease,” she added.
“Cigarette smoking carries a much higher probability of heart attack and stroke than e-cigarettes, but that doesn’t mean that vaping is safe.”