E-liquid Used ‘Neat’ and NOT Inside An E-cigarette!
Once again the mainstream media has been filled with dire warnings about certain flavoured e-liquids running the risk of affecting the health of vaper’s hearts…so what’s the truth behind the headlines?
I rebutted a similar scare story on vaping and the effect on the heart in the article: NO! Your E-Cigarette Is NOT About to Give You a Heart Attack!. That one also grabbed the headlines and despite plenty of scientific rebuttals, it’s another of those vaping myths that have slipped into the wider public psyche.
That particular piece of research looked at the effects nicotine had on the heart – in this case, arterial stiffness – and pro-vaping scientists showed nicotine had pretty much the same effect as did caffeine, AND the effects, just like drinking a ‘power drink’, were temporary.
At the time the excellent and pro-vape Professor Peter Hajek said:
Arterial stiffness is a well-known stimulant effect of nicotine that has little relevance for health.
Drinking coffee has the same effect, only greater and longer lasting (as does watching a dramatic football match).
So what’s the latest scare story?
Scientists Say Vaping On Cinnamon Flavoured E-liquids Is Dangerous
This time scientists from the University of Arizona have targeted certain flavourings found in e-liquid. A VERY timely study given the current hysteria over the pond and threats to ban all flavoured e-liquids…purely a coincidence I’m sure.
They say their findings show certain flavours, namely menthol and cinnamon, may – and I stress the word may – increase risk of a heart attack.
The study is titled: Modeling Cardiovascular Risks of E-Cigarettes With Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell–Derived Endothelial Cells – another snappy title lol. It was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) and suggested certain flavourings could be toxic to the heart.
Co authour and an assistant professor at the university, Dr Won Hee Lee, told the media:
When you’re smoking a traditional cigarette, you have a sense of how many cigarettes you’re smoking.
But e-cigarettes can be deceptive. It’s much easier to expose yourself to a much higher level of nicotine over a shorter time period.
And now we know that e-cigarettes are likely to have other significantly toxic effects on vascular function as well.
All a bit grim…but it gets worse with the lead researcher, Professor Joseph Wu from Stamford University School of Medicine issuing this dire warning:
This study clearly shows that e-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes.
When we exposed the cells to six different flavors of e-liquid with varying levels of nicotine, we saw significant damage.
Oh my all sounds a bit worrying…
Or does it?
The Truth Behind The Headlines
Enter stage left our old friend – champion of vaping, world-renowned researcher and cardiac surgeon Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos M.D.
He has taken a look at the study and in particular, has looked at the effects of cinnamon flavours. He has written a detailed response: Do the properties of cinnamon change when it is present in e-cigarette liquids?
He points out that far from harmful to the body, science recognizes cinnamon or cinnamaldehyde – the aldehyde that gives the spice its flavour and aroma, as beneficial in numerous ways – including reports of it having antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer properties, anti-diabetic and cardioprotective effects as well as numerous other benefits.
In an excellent blog post – that is a little too technical for me lol – he also points out the methods used in the study were once again flawed:
…e-cigarette liquids were used in their original liquid form instead of being used with an e-cigarette.
This means that the effects observed by the authors were not related to the heating process that can produce thermal degradation products. Therefore, it is interesting to look at the literature on the effects of cinnamaldehyde on inflammatory processes and oxidative stress.
However, until further tests were carried out – in this case using the vapour rather than the neat e-liquid, Dr Farsalinos was wary of the results writing:
I am not suggesting that cinnamaldehyde is the miracle drug of the 21st century.
All the above are mainly in vitro cell or animal studies. I am also not suggesting that it is safe, harmless or beneficial to vape cinnamon-flavored liquids.
I will emphasize, however, once again that the study published in JACC used e-cigarette liquids in liquid form.
Thus, cinnamaldehyde in the cinnamon-flavored liquids was not different from cinnamaldehyde present in food. In fact, if the observed effects are attributed to cinnamaldehyde, then cinnamaldehyde in food products must be equally toxic to endothelial cells.
In conclusion, cell and animal studies show conflicting results on the effects of cinnamaldehyde.
It is possible, however, that the effects observed in the recent study were irrelevant to cinnamaldehyde and could be attributed to other compounds in the liquids.
Still, I don’t think that this in vitro study cannot represent a model to understand the cardiovascular effects of e-cigarette flavorings.
Once again the mainstream media has jumped on an anti-vape study that as we can see didn’t involve the actual act of vaping at all.
It’s almost as if they want everyone to go back to smoking…or at least prevent smokers from switching to e-cigarettes.
Things that make you go ummmm…
BTW if I get any more info on the alleged effects menthol flavourings may have on the heart I shall of course update this post.