E-cigarette Use Can Increase Risk of Heart Disease

Public Health Watchdog Breaking News
Public Health Watchdog Breaking News

New research from the world-renowned Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden shows that just ten puffs on an e-cigarette can trigger physiological changes leading to heart disease.

Just a decade ago, e-cigarettes were considered little more than a fad. The battery-powered devices heat nicotine liquid to produce the vapor that delivers nicotine without the dangerous chemicals produced by burning tobacco, the (U.K.) Daily Mail reports.

Now, e-cigarettes are in use everywhere. In Britain alone, almost three million people use e-cigarettes. “Vaping” is gaining popularity worldwide because many in the medical and public health communities believe e-cigarettes are safer than conventional cigarettes. And although they pose certain risks, most public health authorities still see e-cigarettes as a valuable tool to help smokers cut down or quit smoking.

Troubling Research Results

In the Swedish study, published in the journal Atherosclerosis, the researchers took 16 occasional smokers of cigarettes and asked each of them to take ten puffs on an e-cigarette. Within an hour, the researchers saw a “rapid rise” in levels of endothelial progenitor cells, a type of cell indicating damage to the inner lining of blood vessels, according to the Daily Mail. The researchers said this rise “was of the same magnitude as following smoking of one traditional cigarette.” Even this very limited exposure to e-cigarette vapor “may indicate an impact on vascular integrity leading to future atherosclerosis.”

The Swedish research is not the only research to indicate risks with e-cigarettes. Other research shows that the additives used to flavor the vapor could be dangerous when heated and inhaled. And a study published earlier this year suggests that those who vape are 28 per cent less likely to quit tobacco than those who do not.

Despite this varied body of research, the Daily Mail reports that medical organizations in the U.K. strongly support encouraging smokers to switch from tobacco to e-cigarettes. Public Health England issued a statement saying e-cigarettes are “around 95 per cent less harmful than smoking [conventional cigarettes].” The Royal College of General Practitioners recently told its 52,000 members to advise those trying to give up smoking to switch to e-cigarettes. But members of the medical community on both sides of the Atlantic are skeptical of this approach to quitting smoking. Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said, “’We simply can’t know what their effect will be on health, if used over the long term, because they have not been around long enough.”

In addition to these health dangers, Parker Waichman notes a growing number of lawsuits over injuries from exploding e-cigarettes. People have suffered burns to the face and hands, eye and tongue injuries, and broken teeth. In some instances, exploding e-cigarettes have caused fires resulting in property damage.

The lithium-ion batteries used in e-cigarettes can overheat during charging or even while the device is being used. The lack of industry-wide manufacturing standards or testing programs, and misuse by vapers who modify their devices or use the wrong battery charger can result in explosions.

The nicotine liquid is also dangerous, especially to young children; as little as a teaspoon of liquid nicotine can be fatal to a small child. Calls to poison control centers resulting from young children’s exposure to vaping liquids increased by approximately 1,500 percent during a 40-month period from 2012 to 2014, MedPage Today reported earlier this year.

FDA Takes Action on E-cigarettes

After years of debate about e-cigarettes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued regulations for e-cigarettes. The regulations include a prohibition on the sale of the devices to minors. The devices themselves and the nicotine liquid will be subject to restrictions. Manufacturers must register their brands with the FDA and must provide a detailed account of ingredients and the manufacturing process. The new regulations require childproof caps for nicotine liquid bottles and warnings to adults to keep the liquid out of the reach of child.

E-cigarette manufacturers must apply for FDA approval to sell the products. Companies with products now on the market will have two years to submit an application to the FDA. The product can stay on the market for an additional year while the FDA reviews the application, the New York Times reports.

Legal Help for Those Harmed by E-cigarettes

If you or someone you know has suffered an injury or adverse health effects from e-cigarette use, you should contact the attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP for information about your legal rights. For a free, no obligation case evaluation, fill out the firm’s online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).