E-cigarette users 20 percent more likely to develop heart failure: Study

April 2, 2024

People who use e-cigarettes are 19 percent more likely to develop heart failure, compared to those who have never used them, a new study published Tuesday revealed.

The data point was included in one of the largest prospective studies to date on the link between vaping and heart failure. The findings of the study are being presented at the American College of Cardiology’s (ACC) annual scientific session.

Researchers examined data from surveys and from All of Us, a national study of adults run by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of 175,667 study participants, who had an average age of 52 and were 60.5 percent female, according to the ACC press release. They found that 3,242 participants developed heart failure with a follow-up time of a median of 45 months.

In determining that someone who used an e-cigarette at any point was 19 percent more likely to develop heart failure than someone who never used them, researchers accounted for demographic and socioeconomic difference, heart disease risk factors and people’s past and current use of substances, including alcohol and tobacco products.

The connection between e-cigarette use and heart failure did not vary by age, sex or smoking status, the researchers found.

The research adds to previous studies conducted in animals that signaled using e-cigarettes can have an effect on the heart and cause changes involved in the heart failure, the ACC said. Those studies, however, have been inconclusive in assessing the direct connection, since, according to researchers, is a result of limitations of studies and their sample sizes.

 “More and more studies are linking e-cigarettes to harmful effects and finding that it might not be as safe as previously thought,” the study’s lead author and resident physician at MedStar Health in Baltimore, Yakubu Bene-Alhasan, said in a statement. “The difference we saw was substantial. It’s worth considering the consequences to your health, especially with regard to heart health.”

Electronic nicotine products have often portrayed as a safer alternative to smoking, but research is beginning to indicate that there might be reason for concern about the potential negative health effects. While the past decades have seen a decline in popularity of traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vaping remain popular among young people and among people trying to quit traditional cigarettes.

“I think this research is long overdue, especially considering how much e-cigarettes have gained traction,” Bene-Alhasan said in the statement. “We don’t want to wait too long to find out eventually that it might be harmful, and by that time a lot of harm might already have been done. With more research, we will get to uncover a lot more about the potential health consequences and improve the information out to the public.”