A new study adds to a growing number of evidences that show use of e-cigarettes is not always a health option, particularly when not used for smoking cessation.
E-cigarettes are considered safer than traditional cigarettes but it still comes with health risks. The new study, which was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology on Monday shows that use of the devices as well as e-cigarette flavors may pose heart disease risk.
Endothelial cells, which line the interior of blood vessels, support heart and cardiovascular health. Damaged endothelial cells may hamper the body's ability to heal wounds and form new vascular tubes. The damage can eventually lead to cardiovascular disease.
Joseph Wu, director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, and colleagues exposed e-cigarette flavorings to lab-grown endothelial cells and found that this increased the levels of molecules linked to DNA injury and cell destruction.
E-Cigarette Flavors Most Dangerous To Heart Health
The e-cigarette flavors the researchers used in the experiments were caramel, menthol, sweet tobacco, sweet butterscotch, cinnamon, fruit, and vanilla. Among these flavors, they found that cinnamon and menthol appear to pose the biggest threat to the viability of the cells.
Wu and colleagues also found that cinnamon and menthol flavored e-liquids can disrupt the ability of the cells to form capillary-like tubular structures, which influences the growth of new blood vessels.
"The cytotoxicity of the e-liquids varied considerably, with the cinnamon-flavored product being most potent," the researchers wrote in their study.
Effects Independent Of Nicotine Content
Some of the effects were dependent on nicotine concentration but the researchers also found that other effects such as decreased cell viability and cellular migration were not affected by nicotine content.
This raises concern since e-cigarettes can be deceptive, causing users to expose themselves to high amounts of nicotine over a short period.
"It's important for e-cigarette users to realize that these chemicals are circulating within their bodies and affecting their vascular health.," Wu said.