New AHA statement reveals youth vaping is linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease

Man vaping an e-cigaretteAccording to a recent scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA), e-cigarettes could have dangerous consequences for cardiovascular health in adolescents. The statement is a result of a report compiled by lead author, Loren Wold, PhD, professor in the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. In the report, Dr. Wold calls on policymakers to take the next step toward curtailing e-cigarette use in young adults.

E-cigarettes have been gaining traction since the early 2000s, when they were originally created to help reduce nicotine addiction. But with their customizability, wide range of flavors and “tech” aesthetic, e-cigarettes continue to increase in appeal to young adults.

“While adolescents who use e-cigarettes may not feel that vaping is affecting them at the moment, it is increasingly clear that the chemicals contained within e-cigarette aerosols are harming cardiovascular cells,” Dr. Wold says.

The report from the AHA states that young e-cigarette users are at risk for developing increased arterial stiffness and higher blood pressure, along with elevated oxidative stress and inflammation. 

People who begin vaping as young adults could also become lifelong nicotine users, according to the statement. With continued vaping, e-cigarette users may face a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the future.

“It usually takes decades before people who smoke combustible cigarettes develop cardiovascular disease and/or chronic-obstructive pulmonary disease, and the same may be true of vaping,” Dr. Wold says. “A reduction in adolescent vaping rates likely may help to improve long-term cardiopulmonary outcomes among this group.” 

To protect young adults against the harmful cardiovascular effects of vaping, the AHA recommends stricter legislature that limits adolescents’ access to e-cigarettes. This includes regulating the flavors and appearance of e-cigarettes to make them less appealing, as well as eventually withdrawing all flavored e-cigarettes from the market.

Read more about the link between e-cigarettes and youth cardiovascular health here.