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Electronic Cigarettes are not harmless: A JAMA Cardiology article

Watch this educational video on E-Cigarette use and youth consumption based on this study

Since their introduction, electronic cigarettes, also known as “vapes,” have gained unprecedented popularity, especially among young people. Electronic cigarettes have generated significant controversy since virtually nothing is known about their health effects. In a recent TRDRP-supported study conducted at the University of California at Los Angeles by Dr. Holly Middlekauff, Professor of Cardiology, and colleagues, it was found that in chronic electronic cigarette users who do not use tobacco cigarettes (no dual users), two important risk factors for heart disease were abnormal. First, chronic electronic cigarette users had increased cardiac sympathetic nerve activity (nerves that carry adrenaline), which has been associated with increased risk for heart attack and sudden death. Secondly, susceptibility to oxidative stress was also increased in electronic cigarette users, increasing risk for atherosclerosis and cardiac ischemia.  The investigators concluded that although the cardiac risk of electronic cigarettes compared to tobacco cigarettes remains unknown, electronic cigarettes have real, physiologic effects, and are not harmless. This study was published in JAMA Cardiology.

Amongst the many explanations for the popularity of electronic cigarettes in middle and high school students, including the dessert flavorings, cool electronic devices, and manipulative ads, is that many students perceive electronic cigarettes as harmless. While the medical community tends to agree that electronic cigarettes harbor fewer toxic constituents, and, though unproven, may pose a lesser health risk compared to tobacco cigarettes, the risks of addiction and brain changes attributable nicotine exposure in the developing brain remain a major concern. To combat the glaring lack of information regarding electronic cigarettes available to middle and high school students, Middlekauff’s team at UCLA has developed a short (<5 minute) video to provide interested students with the available facts, so that the personal decisions they make regarding their own use of electronic cigarettes are informed decisions.

E-cig video