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Researchers say vaping puts men at an increased risk for heart disease

e-cigarettes
Posted at 11:19 AM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 14:39:32-05

It took hundreds of years for scientists to learn the dangerous side effects of cigarettes and tobacco products.

E-cigarettes were introduced in the U.S. just 16 years ago. Today, the list of side effects is short, but scientists are learning more about vaping's impact on long-term health.

Researchers at Ohio State University studied the impact e-cigarettes had on the hearts of mice equivalent in age to humans aged between 12 to 30 — the age range the FDA says is the main demographic for vaping. Scientists found male mice were at a higher risk of developing heart conditions.

"So, what that means is the heart muscle itself was weakened and it was very similar to someone with long-term heart disease," said Loren Wold, the assistant dean for biological health research at Ohio State.

However, researchers say they didn't see the same impact in female mice. They found women have higher levels of an enzyme that breaks down nicotine, meaning it doesn't linger in the body as long, reducing its chances of damaging organs.

Researchers say the discovery doesn't mean vaping is safe for women.

"We don't know what happens later on as the mice age, if that protection remains or if it potentially reverts and we see the dysfunction, like we do in males," Wold said.

Wold says researchers are planning further work to see if the enzyme in women can be harnessed and be made into a tool to help protect people who are having trouble quitting.

Researchers are also investigating if the negative heart impacts seen in men can be reversed if a person stops vaping.