Study: E-cigarettes do not lead to heart attacks

'And every year without cigarettes reduces the risk of stroke'

There is no link between daily e-cigarette use and heart attacks. According to a new study published in SAGE magazine.

"For every year after quitting smoking, the risk of heart attack decreases. The effect is not immediate, whether you use e-cigarettes or not. But after 6 years, the risk starts to become much smaller. And it remains low, even among e-cigarette users who vejpake daily."

The Greek cardiologist says Konstantinos Farsalinos, which led the study. The it was presented at the European Society of Cardiology's annual congress in Paris.

Heart attacks and e-cigarettes

The Greek research team's report is a risk analysis based on two large US observational studies conducted between 2014 and 2016. Previous analyses of the same studies have suggested that the rate of heart attacks is the same whether you use e-cigarettes or cigarettes. Tobacco researcher Stanton Glantz, after analysing the same material, argued that "e-cigarettes can be as dangerous as regular cigarettes". The study has received much attention, but has now was withdrawn due to deficiencies in the data.

Small risks from nicotine

Other researchers were puzzled by the reasoning in the Glanz study. The majority of other studies pointed to something else. The only common factor between e-cigarettes and cigarettes is the following nicotine. And nicotine itself is not usually a significant factor in the development of cardiovascular disease.

'For example, we have long-term studies on Swedish snus that show very little risk of nicotine in relation to heart attacks. The risks are there, but they are minimal," he says. Konstantinos Farsalinos.

The aforementioned studies are based on questionnaires where over 70,000 Americans answered questions about their health and medical history. When the Greek research team looked at the basic material for the studies, they found questions that for some reason had not been included in the Glanz study. These were "How old were you when you started using e-cigarettes, once or twice a week or regularly?". and the question "How old were you when you found out you had a heart attack?"

The risk decreases over time

According to Mr Farsalinos, this was crucial in establishing the link between heart attacks and e-cigarettes.

'Especially when it comes to the time it takes to develop a heart attack. This is complicated to study because most, 95 per cent, of American vejpers are smokers or ex-smokers. A heart attack develops over a long period of time and is clearly linked to smoking," says Mr Farsalinos.

Therefore, it became important to include the length of time between smoking cessation and the frequency of heart attacks, even among e-cigarette users, according to the report. Konstantinos Farsalinos.

"We know that every year the risk for ex-smokers decreases. The risk does not decrease immediately, whether you use e-cigarettes or not. But after 6 years, the risk starts to become much lower. And it remains low, even if you vejpake daily" says Konstantinos Farsalinos.

Researching e-cigs for 10 years

The Greek research team's study is published in the online academic journal SAGE Journals. Konstantinos Farsalinos hopes that other researchers will recognise the difficulty of drawing conclusions about the impact of e-cigarettes on users' health.

"It is difficult to refer to direct clinical studies in terms of cardiovascular disease for vejpers," says Konstantinos Farsalinos, who has been researching e-cigarettes for nearly a decade.

'This is because almost all users are ex-smokers, often with the risks of long-term smoking. Observational studies (where participants themselves answer questions about their health) are limiting. But our study shows that with a thoughtful analysis of the data, it is possible to obtain valuable information on the absolute impact of e-cigarettes on users' health," says Konstantinos. Farsalinos.


Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos presents his study on stroke and e-cigarettes

E-cigarettes and stroke in the United States in SAGE

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