One of the most common half-truths spread about vaping is the fear that it produces formaldehyde – but what do the experts believe?
There can’t be a single smoker or e-cigarette user who hasn’t seen a newspaper scare story linking vaping to heart attacks. How did researchers come up with those findings and what do harm reduction experts say about their conclusions? The truth is that vaping places far less stress on the heart and the circulatory system.
What is a myocardial infarction?
A myocardial infarction (MI) is the medical terminology for a heart attack, something that occurs when the blood flow is reduced or stopped to the heart causing damage to the muscle walls.
What do vaping’s detractors say?
One of the loudest voices has been the now-retired American called Stanton Glantz. He has been banging the drum linking Mis to vaping for many years and, in 2020, said: “The odds of having had a heart attack among daily e-cigarette users were more than doubled compared to people who neither used e-cigs nor smoked cigarettes. We also found a statistically significant dose-response, with people who used e-cigs daily having higher risks than nondaily, former, or never users.”
How do these people obtain their results?
There are three things that all negative studies have in common:
- They drown dishes containing cell cultures in liquid, or
- They poison mice with atmospheres containing nothing but a vapour, or
- They mess about with data until it produces a result they want
What is an example of their work?
Glantz produced a paper called Electronic Cigarette Use and Myocardial Infarction Among Adults in the US Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health. In it, he and his partner looked at data until they found vaping doubled the risk of a heart attack.
It does. Fortunately, Professors Brad Rodu and Nantaporn Plurphanswat attempted to replicate their findings and said: “Causality is not possible if heart attacks had occurred before the onset of e-cigarette use. The data sets contained information about the ages at first heart attack and first e-cigarette use, but Bhatta & Glantz did not use it.”
The heart attacks Glantz discovered happened up to ten years before smokers had switched to electronic cigarettes. As with the research papers that kill mice or drown cells, Bhatta & Glantz didn’t look at the impact of switching to vaping on ex-smokers.
Professor Michael Siegel commented: “This is yet another example of the junk science that is rapidly being spewed out by anti-tobacco researchers who are apparently more interested in demonising vaping than in using rigorous scientific reasoning.”
Are there positive research examples?
Absolutely. The British Heart Foundation looked at real-world effects to produce research that showed, “blood vessel health improves within one month”.
The VESUVIUS study is the largest investigation analysing the impact of switching to vaping on the heart and circulation. “For chronic tobacco smokers there were significant improvements in vascular function within a month of switching from a tobacco cigarette to an e-cigarette,” said the lead researcher. “We now have clear evidence they’re less harmful than tobacco cigarettes.”
UK Centre for Tobacco & Alcohol Studies’ Professor John Britton commented: “This randomised trial provides clear evidence of a reduction in a marker of cardiovascular disease risk in people who switch from smoking to vaping, and that the reduction is similar irrespective of whether nicotine was used in the electronic cigarette.”
While vaping is not safe, independent evidence shows it is far better for your heart and circulatory system than smoking.