Research presented at the American Heart Association’s International Stroke Conference suggested that e-cigarettes may raise the risk of stroke more than smoking traditional cigarettes.
The study that vaping—inhaling the nicotine vapor produced by an e-cigarette—reduced the amount of glucose in the brain, a fuel necessary for neurons. The vapor also damages a chemical vital for clotting, which make a devastating brain hemorrhage more likely, the (U.K.) Mirror reports.
Study Warns of Stroke Risk
The scientists speaking at the Houston stroke conference said e-cigarettes are not safer than smoking traditional cigarettes and the may pose a similar, if not bigger, risk for stroke severity. The researchers from Texas Tech University, Amarillo, said rigorous studies are needed to determine the effects of nicotine exposure via e-cigarettes on the brain and stroke outcome.
In their experiments, the researchers exposed one group of mice to e-cigarette vapor and another group to tobacco smoke and then compared the two groups. The mice exposed to e-cigarette vapor for 10 or 30 days had worse stroke outcomes and neurological problems, than those exposed to smoke from tobacco.
Pharmaceutical scientist Ali Ehsan Sifat said e-cigarette exposure decreased glucose uptake in the brain. Glucose fuels brain activity. “Both e-cig and tobacco smoke exposure for 30 days significantly impaired circulating levels of an enzyme required for clotting – potentially increasing the risk for stroke and worsened secondary brain injury.”
Parker Waichman notes evidence of a variety of health risks from e-cigarettes, including risks of injuries from exploding devices.
At the heart of the debate over e-cigarettes are not only differing views about the safety of the device but also different views about the purpose of e-cigarettes. The controversy over e-cigarettes rests in part on claims that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional tobacco products and can ease the path away from smoking by delivering nicotine without the carcinogens and toxins in cigarette smoke. But these safety claims have come under increasing scrutiny as e-cigarette use has grown. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health officials are alarmed by the increased use of e-cigarettes by young people. Many teenagers who take up vaping are not doing so as a way to quit smoking. Vaping is popular and many teenagers do it to fit in with their peers. But responses from a recent teen health survey indicate that teenagers who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes may in fact be a “gateway” to smoking for a new generation.
E-cigarettes may pose greater health risks than the 10-year-old industry has acknowledged. Some of the fruit- and candy-flavored nicotine liquids used in e-cigarettes contain chemicals that cause bronchiolitis obliterans—also known as Popcorn Lung—a serious, irreversible lung condition. The New York Times has reported that young children can suffer serious, even fatal, nicotine poisoning if they swallow as little as a teaspoon of e-cigarette liquid.
The devices themselves can be hazardous. A number of people have suffered burns and facial and hand injuries from exploding e-cigarettes. E-cigarette batteries have exploded while devices were charging, starting fires that have damaged homes and vehicles.
FDA Moves to Regulate E-Cigarettes
In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued 499 pages of regulations, including a ban on their sale to anyone under the age of 18. The devices themselves are subject to federal regulation for the first time. E-cigarettes must be registered with the FDA and manufacturers must provide a detailed account of ingredients and the manufacturing processes. Manufacturers must apply to the FDA for approval to sell the products and this requirement includes vape shops that mix their own e-cigarette liquid, the New York Times reports.
Manufacturers will be subject to FDA inspections and they are prohibited from marketing their products as “light” or “mild” without FDA approval. Companies will be forbidden from giving out free samples.
Companies with products on the market now, including vape shops that mix nicotine liquids, will have two years to submit an application to the FDA for approval of a product. The product can stay on the market for another year while the agency reviews the application, the New York Times reports.
Legal Help for Those Harmed by E-Cigarettes
If you or someone you know has been injured or suffered adverse health effects from e-cigarette use, you may have important legal rights. The attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP can offer a free, no obligation consultation. To reach the firm, fill out the contact form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).