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According to a recent study conducted at George Washington University, there is now evidence that electronic cigarette use increases the risk of a heart attack, independent of the effect of smoking cigarettes.
Previous Assumptions and New Data
The health effects of electronic cigarettes have been a contentious topic in the science and health community in recent years. Although there have been suspicions of the possible negative health effects of the devices since their introduction to the market about a decade ago, previous assumptions held by many researchers were that electronic cigarette use would not equal or surpass that of conventional cigarettes.
Initial research suggesting that electronic cigarette use could severely impact an individual’s health came in the form of a study conducted by Dr. Nardos Temesgen and a team of researchers. This team used a survey carried out by the National Health Interview Survey (NIHS) to conduct a study, in which they observed that the daily use of electronic cigarettes could be associated with a substantially increased risk of suffering a heart attack. In studying nearly 70,000 people, the researchers were able to suggest that the odds of a heart attack increased by nearly 42% among people who used e-cigarettes.
Additionally, the heightened risk of heart attack associated with the use of the device is not the only potential side effect. While electronic cigarettes deliver lower levels of carcinogens than conventional cigarettes, they also expose users to elevated levels of ultrafine particles and other toxins that have been linked to increased cardiovascular disease risks.
A smaller study, led by Dr. Mark Rubinstein of the Division of Adolescent Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, yielded comparable results. The findings of this research suggest that electronic cigarettes may be harmful to those who use them, based on the study of 100 adolescent subjects that averaged 16.4 years in age. Sixty-seven of the subjects only used e-cigarettes, while 17 used a combination of e-cigarettes and traditional, tobacco and 20 were nonsmokers.
The results, derived from routine urine samples, suggested that the electronic cigarette smokers had three times the amount of cancer causing toxin compounds within their urine than non-smokers. These compounds include acrylonitrile, acrolein, propylene oxide, acrylamide and crotonaldehyde, none of which were found in nonsmokers.
Consult Your Healthcare Provider
Although electronic cigarette vapor is thought to be less harmful than traditional tobacco smoke, there is new research from reliable data to suggest that electronic cigarette use may lead to several severe health risks. The importance of warning consumers, especially adolescents, about the potential risk from toxic exposure to carcinogenic compounds generated by these products cannot be emphasized enough. If you or a loved one currently uses, or has previously used, electronic cigarettes it is important to discuss the health risks and new findings with a healthcare professional. A physician will be able to offer you an individualized health consultation based on routine tests, a medical examination and your family history, in order to better assess the effects of the device on your health.
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