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Vaping Could Raise Your Risk for Heart Failure
  • Posted April 2, 2024

Vaping Could Raise Your Risk for Heart Failure

Think vaping is the "healthy" alternative to smoking?

Think again: A new study finds it raises people's odds for heart failure.

“More and more studies are linking e-cigarettes to harmful effects and finding that it might not be as safe as previously thought,” said study lead author Dr. Yakubu Bene-Alhasan, a resident physician at MedStar Health in Baltimore. “The difference we saw was substantial. It's worth considering the consequences to your health, especially with regard to heart health.”

According to background information in a news release from the American College of Cardiology (ACC), heart failure currently affects more than 6 million Americans.

The illness can often set in after a heart attack, and involves a weakening of the heart so it can no longer pump blood effectively. Heart failure can be disabling and lead to hospitalization and death.

The new study is slated to be presented Sunday at the ACC's annual meeting in Atlanta.

It's estimated that between 5% and 10% of teens and adults now vape, with many becoming addicted to the nicotine in e-cigarettes.

In the research, Bene-Alhasan and colleagues scoured a U.S. national health database to compare e-cigarette use and any diagnosis of heart failure in almost 176,000 adults.

People averaged 52 years of age, 60.5% were female and just over 3,240 participants developed heart disease over a follow-up period of just under four years.

People who vaped were 19% more likely to receive a heart failure diagnosis than those who didn't, the Baltimore team reported. That remained true even after they accounted for other heart disease risk factors and the use of other substances, such as tobacco or alcohol.

The effect seemed specific to a particular kind of heart failure, known as heart failure with preserved ejection-fraction (HFpEF). In this condition, heart muscle stiffens so that the heart doesn't fill with blood as it should between contractions. The authors note that rates of HFpEF have risen in recent years.

“I think this research is long overdue, especially considering how much e-cigarettes have gained traction,” Bene-Alhasan said. “We don't want to wait too long to find out eventually that it might be harmful, and by that time a lot of harm might already have been done. With more research, we will get to uncover a lot more about the potential health consequences and improve the information out to the public.”

The researchers noted that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend vaping as a means of quitting smoking. Instead, the agency advises a combination of quit-smoking counseling and medications as the best way to kick the habit.

Because these findings were presented at a medical meeting, they should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

Find out more about how to quit smoking at the American Lung Association.

SOURCE: American College of Cardiology, news release, April 2, 2024

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