Further Research Needed on Long-Term Health Effects of E-Cigarettes Amid Growing Usage
With the increasing number of young individuals using electronic nicotine delivery systems, mounting evidence suggests that e-cigarettes may pose risks to human health.
A recent science report emphasizes the necessity for additional studies to determine the long-term consequences of these devices on the heart and lungs.
Published in the journal Circulation, the scientific statement from the American Heart Association discusses the latest data on e-cigarette usage and scientific evidence regarding the health effects of vaping.
The report highlights that e-cigarettes deliver various potentially harmful substances into the body, including chemicals and compounds that users are likely unaware of or do not fully understand.
Dr. Jason J. Rose, the chair of the statement writing committee and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, explains that the liquids used in e-cigarettes contain solvents, flavoring agents, cooling agents, and metals, among other chemicals.
Additionally, e-cigarettes primarily deliver nicotine, which is highly addictive and known to have adverse health effects. However, these devices can also be used to administer other substances such as THC (the psychoactive component of marijuana), methamphetamine, methadone, or vitamins.
The report acknowledges that young people are often attracted to the diverse flavors available in e-cigarettes and can develop nicotine dependence as a result. However, the long-term risks of e-cigarettes remain unknown and might only become apparent after decades.
Furthermore, studies indicate that some young e-cigarette users eventually turn to other tobacco products, and there is a correlation between e-cigarette use and substance use disorders.
Vaping has been associated with an increased risk of respiratory diseases and a condition known as EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury). EVALI was recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2019, and it resulted in numerous hospitalizations and fatalities.
Research has also shown that nicotine-containing e-cigarettes can lead to acute changes in blood flow measures, including increased blood pressure and heart rate.
The American Heart Association recommends cessation counseling, personalized nicotine replacement therapy, and FDA-approved medications to help individuals quit smoking. However, e-cigarette products are not FDA-approved for tobacco cessation.
The report underscores the need for more extensive research on the long-term effects of e-cigarette use on the heart, blood vessels, and lungs. It suggests studying people with pre-existing heart or lung conditions to compare the impact of e-cigarette use with traditional smoking and explore the effects on those who use both forms of nicotine delivery.
Given the exponential growth in e-cigarette adoption, particularly among young individuals who may not have used combustible cigarettes, expanding research in this area is crucial.
While focusing on health matters, it is also important to read studies on topics such as the optimal time to take vitamins for heart disease prevention and how COVID-19 affects the heart.