E-cigarettes have been popular since they were first introduced almost a decade ago.1 There are many misconceptions around e-cigarettes that make them seem like they are better and safer than traditional cigarettes. The use of e-cigarettes, also called vapes, is increasing along with the many myths circling around their use. The most outrageous one is that e-cigarettes have no health risks.2 But is there any information we are missing out on?
What are e-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes or electronic cigarettes work on batteries. They heat the liquid inside them into vapour, which is then inhaled.
The vapour mainly contains nicotine or tobacco. However, they may also contain flavourings and other harmful, cancer-causing substances.3
How do e-cigarettes affect our heart?
E-cigarettes mimic smoking and can be just as addictive as traditional cigarettes. While they have already gained immense acceptance amongst habitual smokers, what is more alarming is their increased use among teenagers and young adults.4
Nicotine tends to be the main ingredient in the vaping devices. Not only is this a highly addictive substance, but its use also raises the blood pressure significantly. It also causes an adrenaline rush, which in turn increases the heart rate. All this can eventually lead to a heart attack.4 Additionally, e-cigarette users also are prone to circulatory problems including blood clots.1
It is important to note that e-cigarettes make use of potentially toxic chemicals such as vitamin E acetate and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Apart from these, there is a lack of information regarding other ingredients of the vaping liquid and the effects they may have on the body over the long term.4
It may also be useful for you to know that although e-cigarettes have entered the market posing as a better alternative to traditional cigarettes, they are yet to receive approval from the Food and Drugs Administration as devices that can help one quit smoking.4
What is coronary heart disease?
Coronary heart disease or CHD, as it is also known, occurs when the arteries that supply blood to our heart muscle get narrower due to the build-up of plaque (a fatty substance). This makes the arteries narrower and prevents them from supplying an adequate amount of blood to the heart. The symptoms of coronary heart disease may not be evident until one begins having chest pain or suffers a heart attack.5
What do the studies say?
A study found that e-cigarette users were at a significantly higher risk of heart attack and stroke as compared to non-smokers.1
Going by numbers from a medical study in this regard, e-cigarette users are 25% more likely to have coronary heart disease and 55% more likely to have depression or anxiety as compared to non-users.1
The frequency of smoking e-cigarettes has also been studied in context with coronary heart disease. As it turns out, e-cigarette users are at an increased risk of heart attack or coronary heart disease regardless of whether they use them daily or just on some days.1
E-cigarettes may be a slightly safer alternative to normal tobacco cigarettes since they expose you to fewer toxic chemicals.4 However, it won’t be an exaggeration to say that vaping comes with its own set of health risks, which must not be ignored.
For better heart health, stay away from any kind of smoking or vaping altogether!.
- American College of Cardiology. E cigarettes linked to heart attacks, coronary artery disease and depression [Internet]. [updated 2019 Mar 7; cited 2019 Dec 4]. Available from: https://www.acc.org/about-acc/press-releases/2019/03/07/10/03/ecigarettes-linked-to-heart-attacks-coronary-artery-disease-and-depression.
- Penn Medicine. “Vaping’s Safe!”…Right? 4 vaping myths separated from the truth [Internet]. [updated 2019 Jul 30; cited 2019 Dec 4]. Available from: https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2019/july/vaping-myths.
- NIH News in Health. What are electronic cigarettes? [Internet]. [updated 2018 Oct; cited 2019 Dec 4]. Available from: https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2018/10/what-are-electronic-cigarettes.
- JohnsHopkins Medicine. 5 vaping facts you need to know [Internet]. [cited 2019 Dec 4]. Available from: https://www.google.co.in/amp/s/www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/5-truths-you-need-to-know-about-vaping%3famp=true.
- Heart Foundation. What is coronary heart disease? [Internet]. [cited 2019 Dec 4]. Available from: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/heart-conditions/what-is-coronary-heart-disease.