Research Shows E-cigarette Flavorings Can Damage Blood Vessels

The study found that flavoring additives in e-cigarettes impair the blood vessels and can lead to cardiovascular disease.

Until recently, e-cigarettes were considered by many to be free from health-hazards that tobacco cigarettes possessed. But a recent study indicates some foreseeable dangers from chemical flavorings that are an essential part of e-cigarettes.

In particular, 9 chemical flavorings include eucalyptol (spicy cooling), dimethylpyrazine (strawberry), acetylpyridine (burnt flavor), eugenol (clove), cinnamaldehyde (cinnamon), isoamyl acetate (banana), diacetyl (butter), vanillin (vanilla) and menthol (mint). These flavors were tested in a lab for their effects on endothelial cells and were found to have dangerous effects on the cells that are in line with the blood vessels and inside the heart.

It was also found that these flavorings significantly impaired the production of nitric oxide in endothelial cells.

"Increased inflammation and a loss of nitric oxide are some of the first changes to occur leading up to cardiovascular disease and events like heart attacks and stroke, so they are considered early predictors of heart disease. Our findings suggest that these flavoring additives may have serious health consequences," said Jessica L. Fetterman, the lead author of the study and the assistant professor of medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts

The study published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology was the result of a series of experiments that were conducted by researchers at the Boston University.

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They started with taking the endothelial cells from two distinct groups of regular tobacco smokers. One of the groups regularly used unflavored tobacco cigarettes and the other group used menthol-flavored cigarettes.

Following this, they compared the results of these two groups with the cells that were taken from non-smoking volunteers. In the end, they found that the cells from both the group of smokers had a reduced ability to produce nitric acid, which is used for dilating blood vessels.

Something similar happened to the cells of the non-smokers who had direct exposure to eugenol and menthol. To this, Fetterman said, “We still don’t know what concentrations of the flavorings make it inside the body with tobacco product use. We know for menthol that the lower concentrations we tested are similar to the levels obtained smoking a pack of mentholated cigarettes in one day. But how much of the other flavoring additives make it into the blood following vaping is not known.”

There are mixed opinions about vaping as an alternative to traditional smoking.

On one hand, some people argue that vaping is not entirely harmless, but it is still a good way to keep people off smoking because traditional smoking is considered much more harmful. On the other, some researchers say that the research is still ongoing on vaping and its long-term effects on health are not yet known completely.

Therefore, calling it a safe alternative is probably false advertising because we are yet to know about the extent of the health hazards caused by these chemical flavorings on the human heart. However, vaping is inarguably the lesser of the two evils when smoking tobacco is brought into the picture!