VAPING is so dangerous it should be banned, leading doctors said today.
They warn e-cigarettes cause damage to the brain, heart, blood vessels and lungs – and are putting young people at risk.
One vape is all it takes
Their new findings suggest vaping just once can damage your arteries.
Heart specialists in Germany found that one use of an e-cig increased heart rates and stiffened arteries.
They also noted that vaping damages the lining of the blood vessels – known by the medical term, the endothelium – stopping it from working properly.
By doing so, they said, it increases a vaper’s risk of heart disease.
Public Health England has dismissed fears over e-cigarettes in the wake of 40 deaths linked to vaping in the US.
More than 2,000 people have been struck by a mysterious lung disease, that scientists now believe is triggered by vaping illicit THC products.
PHE promotes the devices as a smoking cessation aid, deeming them to be 95 per cent safer than smoking.
E-cigs don’t contain tobacco – which causes lung cancer – however they do contain nicotine, which is known to be bad for the heart.
As a result it is widely accepted that vaping is a better option, for those trying to quit smoking.
But, concerns have been raised about a new generation hooked on e-cigs, who have never smoked – as well as ex-smokers who fail to quit vaping.
Ban vaping, doc says
Now, Prof Thomas Münzel, from the University Medical Centre Mainz, said his new findings suggest e-cigarettes are so dangerous governments should ban them.
He urged countries to follow the likes of India, Brazil, Singapore, Mexico and Thailand, who have already taken steps to outlaw the addictive devices.
“Our data may indicate that e-cigarettes are not a healthy alternative to traditional cigarettes, and their perceived ‘safety’ is not warranted,” Prof Münzel said.
“In addition, we still have no experience about the health side effects of e-cigarettes arising from long-term use.
“The e-cigarette epidemic in the US and Europe, in particular among our youth, is causing a huge generation of nicotine-addicted people who are being endangered by encouragement to switch from traditional cigarettes to e-cigarettes.
“Research like ours should serve as a warning about their dangers, and aggressive steps should be taken to protect our children from health risks caused by e-cigarettes.”
E-cigs linked to heart disease
Prof Münzel and his team looked at the effect of e-cigarette vapour on blood flow in the arteries of the upper arm.
They examined the 20 healthy smokers before they vaped an e-cigarette and then re-examined them 15 minutes later.
They also measured how stiff their arteries had become.
In addition, they exposed 151 mice to the vapour over one, three or five days for 20 minutes, six times a day.
Our data may indicate that e-cigarettes are not a healthy alternative to traditional cigarettes, and their perceived ‘safety’ is not warranted
Prof Thomas Münzel, from the University Medical Centre Mainz
Results from the mice experiments showed an enzyme called NOX-2 was responsible for damaging blood vessels, in the lungs and brain.
NOX-2 is involved in the body’s defences against bacteria, and it plays a role in oxidative stress – an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body.
Mice not able to produce NOX-2, did not suffer the damaging effects of vaping, the team found.
Prof Münzel said they believe a toxic chemical called acrolein, which is produced when the e-liquid is vapourised, activates the damaging effects of NOX-2.
He added: “The results of the present studies identified several molecular mechanisms whereby e-cigarettes can cause damage to the blood vessels, lungs, heart and brain.
“This is a consequence of toxic chemicals that are produced by the vaping process and may also be present at lower concentrations in the liquid itself.”
Young are at greatest risk
Prof Münzel accepts their study, published in the European Heart Journal, is limited due to the fact they didn’t examine any healthy non-smokers.
But, he said one of it’s major strengths is that they received no funding from the e-cigarette industry, nothing studies funded by vaping firms are “more likely to lead to results that indicate e-cigarettes are harmless”.
He added: “We cannot allow an entire generation to become addicted to nicotine.
“We need to focus on the youth because this is by far the largest market.
“According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 3.6 million children in the US use e-cigarettes, with a jump of 78 per cent – from 11.7 per cent to 20.8 per cent – among high school students reporting e-cigarette use from 2017 to 2018.
“And in the UK, 1.6 per cent of those aged 11 to 18 use e-cigarettes more than once a week, compared with 0.5 per cent in 2015.
“Vaping, which was actually intended as an aid to help smokers quit, has developed into a trend among young people in the US, leading to nicotine addiction, even among those who had not smoked before.”
Prof Münzel said he would like to see governments continue to try and stop young people smoking traditional cigarettes – through heavy taxes and curbing marketing.
But, he said at the same time the scientific community must “intensify research into the adverse health consequences of vaping”.
‘Much less risky than smoking’
Experts in the UK reacted to the new findings – supporting the idea non-smokers should not vape.
Prof Jeremy Pearson, of the British Heart Foundation, said: “E-cigarettes contain far fewer of the damaging chemicals which can cause diseases related to smoking tobacco, but that doesn’t mean they are risk-free.
“E-cigarettes still contain other chemicals, metals, and flavouring which affect our heart and blood vessel health.
“This study reinforces that vaping should never be taken up by people who don’t already smoke and emphasises the need for more research into the long-term impact of vaping on our health.”
But Deborah Arnott, from the charity Action on Smoking and Health said the short-term effects of e-cigs on the arteries are the same as drinking coffee.
“While vaping isn’t risk free, it’s much less risky than smoking, which kills over 250 people a day in the UK,” she said.
“Vapers shouldn’t be scared back to smoking – that would be a real public health tragedy.”
Another study, published on Monday, supported the concerns raised by Prof Münzel’s team.
It found e-cigarettes are just as dangerous for your heart as smoking – adding weight to the idea they are not a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes.
And a medical case report, published on Monday, revealed how a 16-year-old from Nottingham nearly died after suffering ‘catastrophic’ lung damage after just five months of vaping.