A recent US study titled “E-Cigarettes Linked to Heart Attacks, Coronary Artery Disease and Depression”, used data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and concluded that “adults who report puffing e-cigarettes, or vaping, are significantly more likely to have a heart attack, coronary artery disease and depression compared with those who don’t use them or any tobacco products.”
Similarly, a study and conference abstract released a month earlier concluded that “Daily e-cigarette use, adjusted for smoking conventional cigarettes as well as other risk factors, is associated with increased risk of myocardial infarction.”
A correlation is not a causation
In both the above studies, the researchers said that respondents who reported vaping were more likely to have ever had cardiovascular problems. However, there was one major problem: the researchers had no idea which came first: the vaping or the heart attacks/heart disease.
In fact, in response to these claims, renowned cardiologist and anti-smoking researcher Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, said that the study conclusions were wrong and “constitute epidemiological malpractice and misinformation.” He explained that being cross-sectional surveys, meaning that they asked participants if they have heart disease and if they use e-cigarettes, such studies provide no information as to whether the participants initiated e-cigarette use before or after the development of the disease, or for how long.
E-cig users who don’t smoke were not at risk
In line with this, a new study published on Science Direct, found no significant association between e-cigarette use and cardiovascular disease among never combustible cigarette smokers, in comparison to smokers and dual users.
The researchers analysed data from a large, nationally representative, cross-sectional telephone survey of 449,092 participants, of which 15,863 (3.5%) were current e-cigarette users, 12,908 (2.9%) dual users of e-cigarettes + combustible cigarettes, and 44,852 (10.0%) with cardiovascular disease.
The risk was highest amongst dual-users
“We found no significant association between e-cigarette use and cardiovascular disease among never combustible cigarette smokers,” said the researchers, although interestingly they did find that dual users were more at risk than smokers only. “Compared to current combustible cigarette smokers who never used e-cigarettes, dual use of e-cigarettes + combustible cigarettes was associated with 36% higher odds of cardiovascular disease,” added the study Abstract.