Columbus – For months, news from the United States on illness and unsettle Deaths related to e-cigarettes also users in this country. Now, a new study is likely to cause further concern. Researchers warn in the journal "Cardiovascular Research" of potential risks of heart-health vapors.
Thus, the liquids used for vaporizing contain particulate matter, metals and flavors that could cause cardiovascular problems.
"That's just not worth the risk," was the conclusion of the researchers. Those who have not smoked before should not even start steaming. Especially adolescents are probably not clear enough.
For their study, physicians analyzed the data from several short- and long-term studies on the consequences of e-cigarette use on the cardiovascular system. "Many people believe these products are safe, but there are more and more reasons to worry about their effects on heart health," said Loren Wold of Ohio State University College of Medicine. "E-cigarettes contain nicotine, particulate matter, metals and flavorings and not just harmless water vapor."
It is already known that fine dust, which is inhaled through the air, enters the bloodstream and ultimately acts directly on the heart. Although the data available so far are not sufficient, they suggest that the same applies to e-cigarettes, said Wold.
Nicotine, for example, increases blood pressure and heart rate, while particulate matter leads to arterial hardening, inflammation and oxidative stress. "We know about these issues from studies on the short-term effects of the vaping – but research is inconsistent and the consequences of chronic e-cigarette use are still a mystery," said Wold. "The potential damage to the heart has basically not been investigated."
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of US steamers increased from seven million in 2011 to 41 million in 2018; In 2021, it could be 55 million. In Germany, according to the association of the e-cigarette trade, around 3.5 million people regularly use the e-cigarette. Originally these were considered as a smoking cessation tool or as a harmless variant of the classic Glimmstängels. In an e-cigarette usually flavored liquids are evaporated electrically. These liquids, also called liquids, are located in a cartridge next to a battery and an electric heating element. The result is no smoke, but an aerosol that is inhaled.
According to Wold, the new analysis demonstrates that larger and longer-term impact studies are needed.
But above all, she should give e-cigarette users something to think about and discourage those who did not smoke before. "It's too great a risk to assume that one does not become dependent and that there are no negative consequences," he said.
In addition, the study highlights the need to regulate e-cigarettes: companies should tell their customers exactly what they breathe, the researchers demand. Transparency is particularly important because the products are constantly changing, said Wold. "Many companies do not disclose the contents of their liquids and claim that they are protected by copyright."
Important: It is unlikely that ingredients such as propylene glycol, glycerin and flavors on inhalation have the same effects as when taken orally, said the doctor.
Co-author Nicholas Buchanan added: "For example, the recent reports of disease and death related to vaping still need to be limited to a single substance or product." The use of THC-containing products appears to be associated with these cases However, the US health authority CDC has already reported that the diseases do not seem to be limited only to these.
The researchers emphasize that traditional cigarette smoking is the most preventable risk factor for cardiovascular disease and related deaths. Due to the perceived security compared to vaping, many smokers would have switched to e-cigarettes or a combination of both. However, there are also many newcomers.
"The most worrisome is the number of children and adolescents who have become used to it – and may never have started smoking conventional cigarettes," said Buchanan. "We do not know what health effects this has on them." In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration is now warning against an epidemic of steaming, especially among adolescents: for example, the number of middle-aged and upper-level 5 million students in high schools, one in five US students consume e-cigarettes.
As a survey commissioned by the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) has shown, more and more young people are trying e-cigarettes in this country as well. Between 2014 and 2018, the proportion of 16- to 29-year-olds who had ever moved to a vaporizer almost doubled from 11 to 20 percent.
As the authors of the current study point out, most of the current research is focused on adults, and especially those who smoked classic cigarettes in the past. An assessment of the consequences for young people is correspondingly difficult.
Also unknown are the possible effects of e-cigarettes on fetuses when a pregnant woman vaporizes, said physician Wold. The consequences of passive inhalation are also unclear.
Adults are beginning to realize that the health effects of steam are not fully understood and the risks may be high. "I'm afraid that's not the case with teenagers."