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Vaping is worse than smoking, research shows

Researchers are busting myth that e-cigarettes cause less harm than smoking and are a safer way to take nicotine

By Web Desk
November 01, 2022
A man makes rings out of smoke.— Unsplash
A man makes rings out of smoke.— Unsplash

Researchers at the American Heart Association are busting the myth that e-cigarettes cause less harm than smoking and are a safer way to take nicotine. 

Medical professionals with AHA say that the effects of vaping on the cardiovascular system are similar to the effects of smoking for two decades.

A research team conducted two studies. The first study aimed to analyse differences in heart health between those who used vapes, people who used traditional cigarettes, and those who did not have both habits.

The results of this study revealed that the participants who took nicotine had higher blood pressure, blood vessel constriction, and heart rate regardless of the product they were using. These problems can play a role in the overactivation of the sympathetic nervous system which is an individual's "flight or fight" response. As a result, artery walls may become dysfunctional.

“Immediately after vaping or smoking, there were worrisome changes in blood pressure, heart rate, heart rate variability and blood vessel tone (constriction),” lead author Matthew C. Tattersall, DO, MS, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and the associate director of preventive cardiology at UW Health says in a media release.

The second study's findings revealed that those who used e-cigarettes performed terribly on a treadmill test that is typically conducted to predict heart disease risk.  

People who vaped had a lower capacity to exercise and could execute a smaller cardiac workload even with utmost effort. These people were also found to have a slower heart rate recovery post-exercise.

“People who vaped clearly performed worse on all four exercise parameters compared to their peers who did not use nicotine," said the lead author of the second study, Christina M. Hughey, MD, a fellow in cardiovascular medicine at UW Health. 

Overall, researchers found no difference between the health of those who vaped and those who used combustible cigarettes. Doctors found similar negativities in vapers and long-time smokers. 

The authors noted that those who used e-cigarettes had an average age of 27.4 years and smokers, of 42 years. Despite a major age difference, younger and older adults were found to be equally damaged.

All the findings were reported in the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2022.