Smokers who switch to vaping see improvements in myocardial health, says scientist

A story making the rounds on social media these days falsely claims that vaping increases the risks of eventually undergoing a heart attack.  While the report is overwhelmingly refuted by reputable scientists around the world, its basis of misinformation is only further fueling the public’s misperceptions about the alleged dangers of vaping. To set the record straight, several academic scholars of the highest caliber have already conducted evidence-based research on this very topic.

One of these brainiacs is the highly-respected Dr. Konstantinos E. Farsalinos of the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Kallithéa, Greece.  His paper entitled Acute effects of using an electronic nicotine-delivery device (electronic cigarette) on myocardial function: comparison with the effects of regular cigarettes makes clear that smokers who switch to vaping experience significant improvements in myocardial functions and overall cardiovascular health.  Published in the journal  BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, Dr. Farsalinos and his team make the following assertions.

“Although acute smoking inhalation caused a delay in LV myocardial relaxation in smokers, electronic cigarette use was found to have no such immediate effects in daily users of the device. This short-term beneficial profile of electronic cigarette compared to smoking, although not conclusive about its overall health-effects as a tobacco harm reduction product, provides the first evidence about the cardiovascular effects of this device. Since awareness and use of electronic cigarettes are continuously rising, more studies are urgently needed, focusing on the pathophysiological mechanisms of disease where smoking is implicated and ultimately on long-term effects. Such studies will provide additional scientific data to public health authorities so that they decide on the regulatory status of this product.”

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The Farsalinos team began by conducting a series of tests on a preselected group of about 81 participants.  They were divided into two distinct groups:  Vaping-only individuals and daily smokers.  A third group of never-vapers, never-smokers comprised the control sample.

These three groupings are very important to the accuracy and validity of the Farsalinos findings.  All too often, intentionally misleading information and bogus “research studies” authored by pay-to-play scientists somehow go viral in mainstream media.  Unfortunately, they tend to almost always lack the necessarily scientific comparisons to never-smokers and especially daily smokers.  The Farsalinos study covers all the proverbial bases.

The Farsalinos vaping study in a nutshell

To be clear, dual use of both vaping and combustible tobacco products were strictly prohibited.  In fact, of the original 81 participants, five were either ejected or willingly quit the project for similar reasons. The remaining 76 individuals consisted of 36 daily smokers (32 male, 4 female) and 40 vapers (36 male, 4 female) whose average ages were about 35 years. 

Throughout the course of the trial, their myocardial functions and other measurable biomarkers were periodically measured and analyzed.  Separate laboratories were used for each group to avoid possible cross-contamination.  Cardiovascular statistics measured included but were not limited to the following.

  • Isovolumic relaxation time (IVRT) corrected for heart rate
  • Cardiovascular performance index
  • Left Ventricle (LV) Mass Index (MI)
  • Left Ventricle (LV) Diameter
  • Blood Pressure (Diastolic and Systolic)
  • Standing Heart Rate
  • Progressive differences in cholesterol, glucose, and triglyceride levels

For the vaping-only group, all participants were given the same vaping device and 7ml nicotine concentration e-liquids.  During the periodic testing processes, they were then asked to vape for a full seven minutes.  To keep the playing field equal, the daily smokers’ group was sent to a separate lab and asked to smoke the same brand of over-the-counter combustible tobacco cigarette for seven minutes, as well.

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The Farsalinos team witness no negative variations in the myocardial functions of the vaping-only members, but the daily smokers experienced almost instantaneous adverse consequences in every category.  In fact, these myocardial anomalies typically occurred after smoking only a single cigarette.

"This is the first study to examine the acute effects of electronic cigarette use on myocardial function. No adverse effects on LV [left ventricular] myocardial function were observed after using electronic cigarette with nicotine-containing liquid for 7 minutes. On the contrary, significant changes in diastolic function parameters were found after smoking 1 tobacco cigarette."

"This study provides the first clinical evidence that electronic cigarettes have less acute adverse effects on myocardial function when compared to tobacco cigarettes."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not officially endorse electronic cigarettes as a smoking cessation product.  They barely acknowledge vaping technology as a tobacco harm reduction tool.

However, the science is irrefutable.  Numerous studies have already documented that vaping is not only safer than smoking by as much as 95 percent, but it’s more effective and more popular than any other nicotine replacement therapy on the market today.

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