According to the CDC, tobacco is the leading cause of preventable disease, death, and disability in the United States. More than 40 million adults are active cigarette smokers, but this bad habit is common among adolescents too.
In fact, more than 4.7 million middle and high school students use at least one tobacco product including e-cigarettes.
An electronic cigarette is dubbed as a safer alternative to actual cigarettes, but it doesn’t mean it’s entirely harmless. The latest study discovered that flavorings found in these products could impair the function of your heart.
E-Cigarettes And Your Heart
E-cigarettes were specifically created to help smokers quit which is why they are less harmful than actual cigarettes people use on a daily basis. These products come in different flavors whose purpose is to enhance* their appeal and consumption.
While many flavorings in e-cigarettes are the standard food additives, little is known about their influence on heart health.
Since the use of these items keeps growing it has become extremely important to study how they affect different aspects of your health. Matthew A.
Nystoriak along with a team of researchers at the University of Louisville carried out a research to investigate how flavorings from e-cigarettes affect heart function.
A group of scientists analyzed the effects of 15 flavor compounds on human cardiomyocytes derived from induced pluripotent stem cells. Cardiomyocytes are the muscle cells that make up the cardiac muscle.
On the other hand, pluripotent stem cells are often referred to as “true” stem cells due to their potential to differentiate into almost every cell in your body.
Nystoriak and his team observed how each of the 15 flavorings affected the function of cardiomyocytes when heated and unheated.
Their findings were presented at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2017 held in Anaheim, California. Results of the study were also published in the AHA’s journal Circulation. The study confirmed that flavorings in e-cigarettes can, indeed, impair heart function.
Different Flavorings, Different Effects
Even though scientists confirmed e-cigarette flavorings affect cardiomyocytes function, not all of them work in the same manner. In fact, different flavorings exhibit different effects such as:
- Cinnamaldehyde (cinnamon flavoring) prevents cardiomyocytes from contracting 24 hours after it comes in contact with them
- Eugenol (clove), Limonene (citrus), and citronellol (floral) flavorings make heart muscle cells beat faster
Lead author of the study explains the results are more serious than it seems. How? If flavorings from e-cigarettes have a significant impact on heart muscle and cells found in it, then they also have the tremendous potential to affect the function of your heart itself.
Interestingly, the research also showed that flavorings associated with impaired heart muscle cells function exhibited strongest effects when they were unheated.
Scientists emphasize the importance of more research on this subject primarily because there are thousands of flavorings used in e-cigarette liquids.
It is unclear how many of these break down once heated or whether they also have the strongest impact on your heart (and other organs) when unheated.
Plus, different flavorings have different effects so additional studies could help define the influence of other additives on heart muscle and its function.
Read More: 10 Tips To Keep Your Heart Healthy
We are inclined to believe that e-cigarettes are harmless just because they’re not “actual” cigarettes and don’t contain some harmful compounds found in standard tobacco products.
This doesn’t mean they don’t carry any health risk. The most recent study discovered that flavorings from e-cigarettes affect the function of cardiomyocytes, heart muscle cells, meaning they can also affect heart function too according to scientists.
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In-Post Image: Webmd.com