Vaping could lead to an increased risk of a heart stroke or attack due to the chemicals found in its flavorings, a new study has suggested.
The flavored ‘e-liquids’ used in e-cigarettes were found to cause damage to the internal lining of blood vessels, leading to severe cardiovascular disease.
E-cigarettes are considered less harmful as compared to conventional cigarettes since they don’t have tobacco – the principal cause of lung cancer.
But they still have nicotine in them, which can narrow down and harden blood arteries. Those which contain flavor are even dangerous.
A team of scientists from Stanford University recently evaluated six flavors used in e-cigarettes on the cells present on the internal lining of blood vessels.
All of the flavors – containing varying nicotine levels – caused cell death, DNA damage, and inflammation.
Researchers found that the damage can lead to the hardening of blood vessels by the formation of clots. It suggests that vaping could increase the risk of suffering from a heart attack.
Prior evidence also suggests that vapers have more chances of suffering a coronary artery disease or heart attack.
“Until now, we had no data about how these e-liquids affect human endothelial cells,” lead study author Dr. Joseph Wu, from Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, said.
“This study clearly shows that e-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes.
“When we exposed the cells to six different flavors of e-liquid with varying levels of nicotine, we saw significant damage. The cells were less viable in culture, and they began to exhibit multiple symptoms of dysfunction.”
The research was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
For the study, the team of researchers didn’t follow a surgical method to naturally remove the cells which line blood vessels as it was a painful procedure.
Instead they ‘reprogrammed’ the blood cells of the participants using chemicals to create the desired cells.
These cells were then exposed to the flavors used in vaping – sweet butterscotch, cinnamon, menthol, tobacco, and sweet tobacco with vanilla and caramel.
The cells suffered inflammation, increased stress, and even death. Menthol and cinnamon were found to have the worst effects, even though they don’t have nicotine.
This led the researchers to conclude that the flavors used in e-liquids are themselves toxic enough.
“When you’re smoking a traditional cigarette, you have a sense of how many cigarettes you’re smoking. But e-cigarettes can be deceptive,” Dr. Wu explained.
“It’s much easier to expose yourself to a much higher level of nicotine over a shorter time period. And 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.”