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American Heart Association says vaping is just as bad for the heart as smoking cigarettes

E-cigarettes may be as dangerous as traditional tar-filled cigarettes, the leading medical organization for heart health said. 

The influential American Heart Association warned that vape devices contain a cocktail of nicotine, thickeners, solvents, and flavors that likely pose the same severe risks to cardiovascular health, including raising blood pressure levels, as smoking cigarettes. 

The AHA’s policy to discourage the use of e-cigarettes, once touted as viable smoking cessation products, is one of the strongest to come from an influential medical association in years.

The organization’s stance has been supported by growing evidence pointing to heart and lung damage, science that informed similar policies from the American Medical Association and the American Lung Association in 2019.

E-cigarettes with high concentrations of nicotine contain other compounds that have been shown in lab studies to increase heart and lung diseases in animals. And  more research into their long-term effects is needed, especially given more than 2.5 million youth currently use vapes.

The AHA’s deputy chief science and medical officer Dr Rose Marie Robertson said: ‘E-cigarette companies have suggested that their products are a way to quit smoking traditional cigarettes. There is no strong evidence to support this beyond any short-term benefit.

‘The lack of long-term scientific safety data on e-cigarette use, along with the potential for the addiction to e-cigarette products seen among youth, are among the reasons the American Heart Association does not recommend e-cigarette use for cessation efforts.’ 

For people eager to quit nicotine in any form, the AHA recomends that people use an FDA-approved method such as nicotine replacement gum or patches that go on the skin for up to 24 hours at a time. 

Dr Robertson added: ‘And all of this needs to be undertaken with the understanding that quitting often takes many tries, and any failures should be seen as just episodes to learn from on the road to finally beating a powerful addiction for good.’ 

More research is needed into the long-term effects on the heart, lungs, and blood vessels and further research is also needed on people who report smoking traditional cigarettes along with e-cigarettes – so-called dual users – compared with e-cigarette users and nonsmokers.

E-cigarettes were introduced to the US in the early 2010s and caught on quickly as millions of people bought into manufacturers’ arguments that the products were a safer way to get a nicotine fix than smokable cigarettes.

Dr Jason Rose, a professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine and chair of the AHA’s scientific statement writing committee, said: ‘Because e-cigarettes and other vaping systems have only been in the U.S. for about 15 years, we do not yet have enough information on their long-term health effects, so we must rely on shorter-term studies, molecular experiments and research in animals to try to assess the true risk of using e-cigarettes.’

Source: Daily Mail

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