Smoking and vaping have similar effects on heart health

  • Researchers say that e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes have similar negative health effects on a person’s cardiovascular system.
  • They add that smoking and vaping at the same time also have serious effects on heart health.
  • They say that both vaping and smoking cause irritation to the airways.

A couple of studies published today – one in humans, the other in rats – show similar cardiovascular effects from cigarettes and e-cigarettes.

The results also indicate that smoking and vaping together produce even more serious heart health problems.

The researchers reported that the effects on blood vessel function are likely caused by irritation of the airways from inhaling a foreign substance, instead of specific components of cigarette smoke or e-cigarette vapor.

The studies were published in the American Heart Association’s peer-reviewed journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

“The goal of this project was to determine why an increasing number of inhaled tobacco products, including combustible cigarettes, heated tobacco products and e-cigarettes, all impair endothelial function despite key differences in these products,” said Matthew L. Springer, PhD, lead researcher of both studies and a professor of medicine in the division of cardiology at the University of California at San Francisco, in a declaration.

“Thousands of chemicals have been identified in tobacco smoke, some of which are also present in e-cigarette aerosols, either as an original ingredient or as a chemical reaction product of the heating process,” said Dr. Springer. “We tried to find which specific component of e-cigarette smoke or vapor could be responsible for interfering with the ability of blood vessels to function efficiently.”

Both cigarettes and e-cigarettes cause endothelial dysfunction, the inability of large blood vessels to open enough to supply enough blood to the heart and other tissues. This condition can be an early predictor of cardiovascular disease.

Springer’s team reported that the impairment of endothelial function due to cigarette smoking is not caused by a specific constituent of the smoke but by the vagal input of the airways.

In the mouse she studiesflow-mediated arterial dilation (FMD) – the ability of blood vessels to widen – was measured before and after exposure to smoke from four types of traditional combustible cigarettes: conventional nicotine, reduced nicotine, conventional nicotine with added menthol, and reduced nicotine with added menthol.

Menthol is added to many tobacco products and can reduce the irritation caused by smoking and can play an important role in easing nicotine addiction.

The study found that blood vessel dilation was reduced by all four types of cigarettes, ranging from 20% to 46%. Higher nicotine levels were associated with a greater decrease in foot and mouth disease, and menthol was associated with a smaller decrease in foot and mouth disease.

Springer said he shouldn’t suggest that menthol is a beneficial additive in smoking and vaping products, as the impairment was still substantial and menthol has other harmful effects.

“This study confirms, once again, what we doctors have known for years: that smoking cigarettes is bad for the lungs and heart,” Dr. Robert Goldberg, a pulmonologist at Providence Mission Hospital in Southern California, told Healthline. “Although vaping was initially considered a safer option to help people quit smoking, the aerosol ingredients have not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration.

“And the e-cigarette liquid, when heated, is a powerful vasoconstrictor or drug that raises blood pressure and delivers nicotine extremely quickly to your body. This creates a serious health risk for both the lungs and the heart, “she added.

Goldberg said the original thought was that vaping was safer because someone wasn’t breathing in harmful smoke.

“But we don’t know the exact chemical composition of the vape liquid,” he explained. “What we do know is that other ingredients and chemical compounds present in the liquid have their own health risks. We are only beginning to understand the toxic side effects that breathing the vapors of e-cigarettes can have on our lungs and our heart ”.

The rats were also exposed to two main gases found in smoke and aerosol, as well as clean carbon nanoparticles, to evaluate the effects on blood vessel dilation.

Carbon gases and particles showed similar impairment to whole tobacco smoke, despite representing completely different chemical and physical components of smoke.

“We were surprised to find that it is not a specific foreign material that is inhaled that causes harmful cardiovascular effects. It’s the fact that some kind of irritant is inhaled in the first place, regardless of what it was, “Springer said.” All inhaled products are likely to have similar detrimental effects on vascular function. “

That could mean there is less difference in harm between vaping and smoking, Patricia Folan, RN, clinical program director at Northwell Health Center for Tobacco Control, told Healthline.

“Many adults have been documented to double-use fuels and e-cigarettes,” he said. “According to the study, this presents an even greater health risk than using either alone.”

“This information is important to share with the public who might consider helping themselves by cutting down on regular cigarettes and replacing a vape product while using them at the same time,” said Folan.

Dr. Thomas Yadegar, pulmonologist and medical director of the ICU at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center in California, told Healthline that “any type of inhalation agent, regardless of origin, has an effect on the blood vessels within of the airways. This is the fundamental premise of the administration of drugs by inhalation “.

“As inhalers and nebulizers try to dilate the airways through blood vessels, inhaling smoke, vapors, dust or other environmental triggers can trigger a cascade of inflammation,” said Yadegar.

Springer said the lack of a specific toxin that takes into account vascular damage means that regulatory agencies cannot rely on banning specific ingredients to avoid adverse effects of inhaled products.

The second study found that prolonged vaping and cigarette smoking both cause changes in the blood that affect endothelial function, albeit in different ways.

“Our results suggest that vaping, even if you don’t smoke combustible cigarettes, causes changes in the blood that increase the risk of leaking blood vessels, and that both smoking and vaping cause changes in the blood that lead to endothelial dysfunction and an increase in of the risk of future cardiovascular events in otherwise healthy people, “Springer said.

“It is important that regulators, doctors and the public realize that vaping is not harmless,” he added. “Smoking and vaping can have similar harmful cardiovascular effects, but each condition causes some potentially harmful effects that the other does not. These differences indicate that using a dual product, namely smoking combustible cigarettes and also using e-cigarette products. , it may actually be worse for vascular health than smoking or vaping alone. “

Doctors say that however you interpret the studies, quitting smoking and vaping are the best ways to manage the danger.

We know that the evidence-based way to quit smoking is through “quit smoking” counseling coupled with nicotine replacement therapy (eg, patches, chewing gum, lozenges, etc.) sold in local over-the-counter pharmacies “Mary Martinasek, a respiratory therapist and associate professor of public health at the University of Tampa in Florida, told Healthline.

“This method is the only evidence-based approach to quitting,” Martinasek said. “Smokefree.gov outlines this information. Many states, such as Florida, offer these products for free and advice to stop exercising for free. “

“If it’s for a teenager, the American Academy of Pediatrics has advised doctors to prescribe nicotine replacement therapies to anyone under the age of 18,” he added.

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