E-CIGARETTES are just as dangerous for your heart as smoking, experts have warned.
Their findings add weight to fears that vaping is not the "safe alternative" to regular cigarettes.
E-cigarettes are widely thought to be a "healthier option" – due to the fact they contain no tobacco.
Public Health England promotes the devices as a smoking cessation aid, deeming them to be 95 per cent safer than smoking.
But while e-cigs don't contain tobacco – which causes lung cancer – they do contain nicotine, which is known to be bad for the heart.
Now, two new studies by US scientists have found they increase the risk of heart disease.
Tests revealed vaping increased cholesterol levels, glucose levels and triglycerides – a type of fat found in the blood.
And the team discovered e-cigs decrease blood flow to the heart, in a similar way to smoking traditional cigarettes.
No long-term proof they're safe
Dr Rose Robertson, medical officer at the American Heart Association, said: "There is no long-term safety data on e-cigarettes.
"However, there are decades of data for the safety of other nicotine replacement therapies.
"The AHA recommends people quit smoking using smoking cessation aids that are FDA-approved and proven safe and effective.
"If people choose to use e-cigarettes as they work to stop smoking other tobacco products, they should also plan to subsequently stop using e-cigarettes because of the lack of information on long-term safety and a growing body of data describing physiologic effects of the components of these devices and the chemical combinations used in them."
The effects from smoking e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes were compared in two separate studies.
In one study, researchers at Boston University compared cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose levels in healthy adult non-smokers, e-cigarette users, cigarette smokers and dual smokers – people who use both traditional and e-cigarettes.
They found total cholesterol levels were lower – and bad cholesterol levels were higher – in those who only vaped, compared to non-smokers.
Good cholesterol was lower in dual smokers – those using both.
Dr Sana Majid, US study author from the Boston University School of Medicine, said: "Although primary care providers and patients may think that the use of e-cigarettes by cigarette smokers makes heart health sense, our study shows e-cigarette use is also related to differences in cholesterol levels.
"The best option is to use FDA-approved methods to aid in smoking cessation, along with behavioural counselling."
'Might be worse than smoking'
A second study looked at the impact on the blood vessels in the heart.
It found vaping "might be worse" than regular smoking, when it comes to coronary vascular dysfunction – damage to the blood vessels.
Scientists looked at blood flow through the heart in 19 young adult smokers, immediately before and after smoking either a cigarette or an e-cigarette.
They performed a series of tests while the volunteers were resting, and again after performing hand grip exercises, to simulate physiologic stress.
Study author Florian Rader, a medical director at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles, US, said: "In smokers who use traditional cigarettes, blood flow increased modestly after traditional cigarette inhalation and then decreased with subsequent stress.
"However, in smokers who use e-cigs, blood flow decreased after both inhalation at rest and after hand grip stress.
"These results indicate that e-cig use is associated with persistent coronary vascular dysfunction at rest, even in the absence of physiologic stress."
Co-author Susan Cheng, also from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said the team were "surprised" by their findings.
MORE ON VAPING
VAPING ON NHS
Smokers trying to quit will be prescribed e-cigarettes on the NHS in months
VAPING ON NHS
Over half of smokers who switch to vaping go back to cigarettes, study shows
The rules on vaping while driving – and whether you can be fined
E-cigs should come with tobacco-style warnings on packaging, doctors say
She said: "We were surprised by our observation of the heart's blood flow being reduced at rest, even in the absence of stress, following inhalation from the e-cigarette.
"Providers counselling patients on the use of nicotine products will want to consider the possibility that e-cigs may confer as much and potentially even more harm to users and especially patients at risk for vascular disease."
The new research will be presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2019 in Philadelphia next weekend.
Source: Read Full Article