Smoking tobacco is a well-established risk factor for heart attacks, and a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine confirms that switching to electronic cigarettes doesn’t eliminate that threat.
Scientists already knew that puffing e-cigarettes causes much of the same cardiovascular harm that’s linked to conventional cigarettes, such as oxidative stress, inflammation, and formation of artery-blocking blood clots. Research suggests that this damage puts e-cigarette users at risk.
As part of two large national health surveys, a sampling of U.S. adults was asked if they had ever had a heart attack. They were also asked if they currently or ever smoked e-cigarettes, and how often. Compared to nonsmokers, daily users of e-cigarettes were nearly 80 percent more likely to have had a heart attack. The risk was even higher among respondents who had other risk factors, such as high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol.
The study, which was published in 2018, offered some good news: People who said they quit using e-cigarettes had no increased risk for heart attacks. And while those who smoked traditional cigarettes were most likely to have heart attacks, quitting reduced their risk as well.
E-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to tobacco use. If you have struggled to quit smoking in any form, ask your doctor about cessation programs.