Vaping Benefits Blood Vessels
Research conducted for Heart Research UK at Sheffield Hallam University has found switching from smoking to vaping is as good for your heart as using nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) such as patches or gum to quit smoking. The work, led by Dr Markos Klonizakis and published in in BMC Medicine, adds to the growing body of evidence of the reduced level of harm vaping poses when compared to tobacco products.
The problem the researchers identified
The authors told prospective research subjects: “Cigarette smoke contains more than 9000 chemicals, the vast majority of which are released by tobacco combustion. Many people believe that it is the nicotine that causes the greatest harm. But in reality, it is other chemicals, heavy metals and small particles that have a major negative effect on health.”
Many don’t use NRT, and it fails for most of them
The message was given out because of the growing levels of misunderstanding over the truth surrounding vaping – but also a key fact about NRT. While patches, gums and sprays help avoid the carcinogens, toxins, carbon dioxide and tar contained in cigarette smoke, “not many smokers trying to quit use these…and many who manage to quit smoking initially go back to cigarettes within a short period of time (75% within 6 months).”
Knowing what we don’t know
Vaping is not without risks, the researchers say, most importantly adding: “Little is known about their effects on the heart and veins or their medium- and longer-term cardiovascular disease risk.”
So, the team aimed to measure how vaping impact the blood system during quit smoking attempts.
248 smokers who wanted to stop smoking took part in the study and attended Sheffield Hallam for four study visits. They were split into three groups – one set were given vapes containing nicotine, one received nicotine-free vapes, and the last group just had NRT products. All three were given behavioural support from NHS stop smoking services.
The team found:
- “Immediate, positive effects” on the veins and arteries in all three groups
- The positive effects were much larger for 20-a-day smokers
- Vein and artery improvements were still measurable in the medium and long term
Heart Research UK said: “The results show that e-cigarettes offer similar benefits to blood vessel health compared to established stop smoking methods and reduce CVD risk. This will help smokers make an informed decision about which option to choose.”
The project leader’s opinion
Dr Markos Klonizakis said: “Vaping is used widely both as a stop smoking aid and a recreational tool, overtaking smoking. Although our work doesn’t suggest that it is safe for the general population, it confirms that vaping can benefit the arteries and small of veins of people wishing to stop smoking.
“This is a ground-breaking finding, complementing previous work in the field. Hopefully, our work can help people and policy makers make the right decisions, to support smoking cessation.”