Is vaping more harmful than smoking?
In another worrying finding on vaping, two new studies have indicated that e-cigarettes could be more damaging to the heart than traditional cigarettes. If that research is correct, the health implications could be significant, because more Americans die each year from smoking-related heart disease (210,000 people) than from lung cancer (140,000). In the first study, which involved 476 people, researchers at Boston University compared the cholesterol levels of e-cig users, regular smokers, those who used both products, and nonsmokers. They found that the vapers had higher levels of unhealthy LDL cholesterol—which can gum up blood vessels—than nonsmokers. In the second study, researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles examined how the hearts of 10 smokers, 10 nonsmokers, and 10 vapers responded to a mild burst of exercise. The flow of blood went up in nonsmokers and tobacco smokers, although the increase in smokers was notably lower. E-cigarette users, however, effectively saw no increase. “There is a lot we still don’t know about e-cigarettes,” Sana Majid, author of the Boston University study, tells NBCNews.com. “It’s going to take time for us to understand how [they] affect your heart health.” There are already significant concerns about vaping’s effects on lungs: More than 2,000 vapers have been hospitalized in recent months with lung illnesses, and at least 42 have died. Scientists suspect many had vaped illicit liquids containing THC—the psychoactive compound in marijuana—that had been cut with vitamin E acetate, a sticky oil that can cling to the lungs. ■