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The Effects of Smoking on Your Heart

Posted 14th Sep 2016 to Vaping News


Smoking and your heart

A paper published earlier this year in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology claims that "the [cardiovascular] effects of e-cigarette use are nearly as big as smoking." However these results appear to be misinterpreted. The study measured “aortic stiffness” or the effect of various activities on the big vessel leading directly out of the heart.

The Effect of Vaping Vs Smoking on Your Heart

A previous study had already documented the effect of nicotine on the heart. The recent study noted that when vaping was compared to smoking the results on aortic stiffness were similar. However the study also noted that in order to reach a similar level of arterial stiffness the participants needed to vape for 30 minutes compared to smoking for 5 minutes. This clearly shows that while smoking and vaping both affect the heart, it’s not nearly to the same degree over a similar time period.

The paper also failed to acknowledge is that many other daily activities also have an effect on arterial stiffness including having a cup of coffee, taking a math test, watching a funny movie or something as simple as tilting up your head. Even healthy activities such as lifting weights have a short-term negative effect on your heart.

The Effects of Tobacco on Your Heart

Tobacco smoke contains dangerous chemicals including tar, cyanide, formaldehyde and arsenic which damage the lining of the coronary arteries. This increases your risk of dying from coronary heart disease.

According to the NHS, these chemicals also increase the risk of blood clots which can double your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Smoking can also lead to cerebrovascular disease, by damaging arteries that supply blood to your brain.

Heart UK stresses that smoking has a serious effect on cholesterol by reducing HDL (good cholesterol) and making cholesterol more sticky and more likely to adhere to the inside of artery walls which  also increases your risk of dying suddenly from a heart attack.

E-cigarettes as Nicotine Replacement Therapy 

E cigarettes don’t contain tar and don’t produce carbon monoxide. In fact a study by Public Health England has shown e-cigarettes to be 95% safer than smoked tobacco.

The BHF suggests using Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to help quit smoking which will reduce long term health risks.  The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has recommended that the NHS add e-cigarettes to the list of products considered to be NRT. It’s important to note that within one week of quitting smoking many health risks are reduced. 

According to Cancer Research UK, e-cigarette users are 60% more likely to successfully quit smoking - which is much better for your heart than continuing to smoke cigarettes. 


Image Credit: Quinn Dombrowski, Flickr





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