Vaping Increases Heart Failure Risk by Almost 20%

A new study has linked vapes that contain nicotine to heart failure risk. People who used vapes or e-cigarettes at any point in their lives have a 19% increased chance of developing heart failure compared to people who have never used vapes.

Researchers presented a new study at the American College of Cardiology's Annual Scientific Conference on Tuesday associating an increased risk of vaping and a type of heart failure otherwise known as heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF).

In the study, researchers looked at 175,667 people from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 60% of whom were female, with an average age of 52, over 45 months. Out of these participants, 3,242 developed heart failure within 45 months. Researchers found no other reasons for heart failure, like age, sex, or smoking regular cigarettes.

HFpEF causes the heart muscles to stiffen, which prevents blood from filling the muscles between each beat. Symptoms alone cannot diagnose HFpEF. Doctors will order tests like an echocardiogram, a nuclear stress test, cardiac catheterization, or a CT scan to diagnose a patient.

Symptoms of HFpEF include:

  • Shortness of breath with exertion
  • Shortness of breath during rest
  • Decreased exercise tolerance
  • Fatigue
  • Chest discomfort
  • Swelling in the legs or feet

A 2017 study published in American Family Physician found that people with HFpEF who were hospitalized survived, on average, 2.1 years. Approximately 75% of people with HFpEF passed away within five years.

In 2020, 6.7 million Americans over the age of 20 experienced heart failure, according to the Journal of Cardiac Failure. Half of Americans with heart failure have HFpEF, according to Nature Reviews Cardiology. Researchers predict by 2030, the number of heart failure patients will be 8.5 million.

And with Americans picking up an e-cigarette everyday, thinking it's a safer option, this number may very well be linked to the oral fixation that's taken the states by storm.

This isn't the first time vapes have been in the news, however. E-cigarettes has been linked to worsening blood pressure and heart rates, lung-related issues, DNA damage, and sudden death.

Johns Hopkins University researchers discovered 2,000 chemicals in e-cigarettes which included industrial chemicals, a pesticide, and two flavorings linked to respiratory irritation. In 2020, there were 68 deaths, mostly teenagers and young people, which were related to vaping.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14.1% of high school students and 3.3% of middle school students used e-cigarettes in a 30-day timespan in 2022. Most participants (85.5%) used fruit and candied-flavored e-cigarettes, which appeal to a younger audience.

"More and more studies are linking e-cigarettes to harmful effects and finding that it might not be as safe as previously thought," said Yakubu Bene-Alhasan, the study's lead author and physician at MedStar Health in Baltimore in a statement.

However, vapes are still somewhat new on the market and the long-term effects are still being studied by researchers. Keep in mind that there have also be discrepancies in science. A 2019 study published in Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease from the NIH found no connection between vaping and heart disease.

Ultimately, more research and education surrounding the health risks of vaping is necessary and consumers should consider the outcomes when reaching for their next cartridge.

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