E-Cigarette Smoker Photo: TheConversation.Com

Flavours added to e-cigarettes can lead to lasting heart damage ─Study

*Experts say that young people are most attracted to the wide variety of flavour options, posing a threat to consumers’ health

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

There are indications that there is no shortage of research highlighting the health risks associated with vaping ─especially when looking at the additives that are particularly popular among younger consumers.

Yet, researchers from the University of South Florida, in the United States (US) in a new study explored the flavour additives even further.

The study discovered that these chemicals can increase the risk of lasting heart damage for consumers, agency report said.

Researcher Sami Noujaim, PhD, said: “The flavoured electronic nicotine delivery systems widely popular among teens and young adults are not harm-free.

“Altogether, our findings in the cells and mice indicate that vaping does interfere with the normal functioning of the heart and can potentially lead to cardiac rhythm disturbances.”

In discovering how it compromises heart health, the researchers conducted experiments on both young mice and human cardiac cells to better understand how flavour additives in e-cigarettes can compromise heart health.

In all of the trials, both the mice and the human cells were exposed to several different flavour additives, as well as e-vapours that didn’t contain flavourings, to understand how the health risks change.

While e-cigarettes pose a threat to consumers’ health without adding flavours, the researchers learned that the flavour additives only exacerbated those health risks in both mice and human cells.

For the mice, the researchers observed several changes to their normal heart functioning. The primary disturbance was heart rate, as the mice exposed to e-cigarette flavor additives were more likely to develop ventricular tachycardia, which speeds up the natural heart rate.

However, other mice were also more susceptible to a slowed heart rate variability, which means the time between heartbeats is slower; this typically happens when the body is under stress, and it can increase the risk for heart disease over time.

Experts noted similar effects to the human cardiac cells.

Even before exposing the cells to the flavour additives, the e-cigarette vapour alone affected how fast the cells were able to beat.

As the researchers added both nicotine and flavouring, the cells became even more compromised, though the worst outcomes came from the addition of the flavouring.

Dr. Noujaim stated: “This experiment told us that the flavoring chemicals added to vaping devices can increase harm beyond what the nicotine alone can do.”

However, in spite of efforts at regulating e-cigarettes, especially in recent months as experts warned about the risks associated with the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many young people continue to seek out flavoured vaping options.

The researchers yet hope that these findings can help cut down on the use of e-cigarettes among this demographic.

Noujaim added: “Our research matters because regulation of the vaping industry is a work in progress.

“The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) needs input from the scientific community about all the possible risks of vaping in order to effectively regulate electronic nicotine delivery systems and protect the public’s health.

“At USF Health, in particular, we will continue to examine how vaping may adversely affect cardiac health.”

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