E-Cigarette Reviews and Rankings

Study Claims Vaping Is Just as Bad for Blood Vessels as Smoking, Ignores All Evidence to the Contrary

A scientific study recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggests using electronic cigarettes is just as harmful for blood vessels as smoking tobacco.

The research, co-authored by Jessica Fetterman, assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, concludes that e-cigarettes cause the same harm to arteries that leads to heart attacks, strokes and heart disease, as smoking tobacco, which pretty much goes against what proponents of vaping as a less dangerous alternative to smoking have been saying. All along we thought that it was the tar, CO2 and the thousands of toxins and carcinogens in tobacco smoked that caused blood vessel damage, but it appears we were wrong…

For this study, researchers collected and analyzed data on over 400 men and women, aged between 21 and 45, without heart disease or risk factors for heart disease. 285 participants smoked tobacco cigarettes exclusively, ninety four were non-smokers, 36 used electronic cigarettes and 52 were dual-users (used both e-cigs and tobacco cigarettes). It’s worth mentioning that all 36 vapers in this study had a history of smoking tobacco for an undisclosed period.

After conducting a series of medical investigations and tests, Dr. Fetterman and her team found no considerable difference in blood vessel stiffness between tobacco smokers, e-cigarette users and dual-users. They all exhibited artery stiffness, and the endothelial cells, the cells that line the blood vessels, appeared to be equally as damaged in all three groups, compared to non-smokers.

“Many people believe e-cigarettes are safer than combustible cigarettes. In fact, most e-cigarette users say the primary reason they use e-cigarettes is because they think e-cigarettes pose less of a health risk,” study author Jessica L. Fetterman, Ph.D., said. “Meanwhile, the evidence from scientific studies is growing that e-cigarettes might not be the safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes when it comes to heart health. Our study adds to that evidence.”

“Our study results suggest there is no evidence that the use of e-cigarettes reduces cardiovascular injury, dysfunction or harm associated with the use of combustible tobacco products,” Fetterman¬† added.

So vaping is just as bad as smoking for the blood vessels is what the authors are saying here, and their message was quickly picked up by the media. The study was only published on April 29, and it was published by dozens of mainstream and medical media outlets that very same day. Known vaping opponents were also quick to bash e-cigarettes as soon as the study came out, proud that what they had been saying all along is finally being proven by medical research.

“Adults take e-cigarettes up because they think they’re not as dangerous as tobacco cigarettes. But what this study is showing is that in terms of these very important measures of vascular function, they are basically the same as a cigarette,” Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, said. “Everybody thought, including me, that because you didn’t have combustion, e-cigarettes had to be a lot better.”

Including yourself, Mr. Glanz? Please, you’ve been one of the most outspoken anti-vaping crusaders for as long as I’ve been vaping (about a decade). You’ve been trying to get e-cigarettes banned since the beginning, and have never shied away from criticising them even with the risk of compromising research. Weren’t you the co-author of a now retracted study that showed how electronic cigarettes caused heart attaks even before people used them? Please…

But I digress. Getting back to the topic at hand, it should be said that the Fetterman study is a cross-sectional one, which means it offers a view at a certain point in time, without taking into consideration certain temporal elements and causality. For example, the authors claim that the condition to have been included in the group of e-cigarette users was to have been using e-cigs exclusively for at least 3 months. That’s not the longest time for improvements to be detected at a blood vessel level. Interestingly, the study also mentions that 2 of the e-cigarette users reported having quit combustible cigarettes weeks before the study, which I found to be a bit strange…

Also, there are a lot of factors we don’t know. Apart from the never-smokers, everyone else smoked combustible cigarettes for a period of time, but we are not told how much or for how long. Also, as is the case with cross-sectional studies, other risk factors, like diet, alcohol consumption, sedentary lifestyle, were not taken into consideration.

Let’s also not forget that the findings of this study contradict several other studies that showed just the opposite – examples here, here and here – that switching from combustible cigarettes to e-cigarettes improves vascular health and decreases artery stiffness. Are we supposed to simply ignores all previous scientific findings just because of one cross-sectional study?

Lastly, the study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (AHA), and funded through various grants to the AHA. While I don’t for a moment judge the researchers’ objectivity, the American Heart Association has had a firm anti-vaping stance for a long time now, and that doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon. Just google “American Heart Association vaping” and you’ll see what I mean.

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