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While many smokers turn to e-cigarettes to help them quit, a new study suggests that switching from traditional cigarettes to vaping doubles the risk of a stroke.
In findings published this week in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM), researchers working with George Mason University warn that there appear to be few health benefits associated with switching from traditional cigarettes to e-cigarettes, and the move may actually increase the stroke risk.
The study sought to assess the prevalence of strokes among individuals using e-cigarette and combustible cigarette products, to determine whether the use of one or a combination of the products caused increased health risks.
Researchers analyzed data from the 2016 through 2017 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS); a national health survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Approximately 161,000 participants between the ages of 18 and 44 years were involved in the study.
According to the findings, individuals using both traditional and electronic cigarettes had nearly three times the risk of a stroke.
When compared to nonsmokers, individuals who both smoked and vaped were nearly twice as likely to suffer a stroke when compared to those solely using traditional cigarettes. However, the odds of a stroke were found to be lower for sole electronic cigarette users when compared to sole combustible cigarette users.
Lead author of the study, Tarang Parekh, of the department of health administration and policy at George Mason University in America, indicated the adverse health effects of traditional cigarette use have long been known. However, the study brings new evidence that those using both form of cigarettes could be at a heightened risk of cerebrovascular events.
“Sole e-cigarette use is not associated with greater odds of stroke in young adults. However, if young adults have former or current combustible cigarette use, odds of stroke are significantly increased even compared with current sole combustible cigarette use,” the researchers concluded. “Switching from combustible cigarettes to e-cigarettes does not confer stroke benefits.”
E-Cigarette and JUUL Health Concerns
E-cigarettes and vaping products have become increasingly popular over the last several years, and were originally intended to be an alternative method for adults to stop smoking traditional cigarettes. However, they amid aggressive marketing by the makers of JUUL and other products, which specifically targeted teens and prior non-smokers, e-cigarettes have quickly become the most popular form of tobacco use among young users.
In 2011, when the FDA first said it would regulate e-cigarettes, only 1.5 percent of teens vaped, but now more than one-third of teens use e-cigarettes as they have become increasingly popular among all age ranges.
The CDC has found nearly 14% of middle school students, and 38% of high school students reported having used e-cigarettes. Among use in the last 30 days from when the survey was taken, five percent of middle schoolers and 16% of high school students reported having used vaping devices.
In addition, federal and state health experts are investigating the cause of widespread respiratory illness linked to vaping products, which has sickened at least 2,500 individuals and caused more than 50 deaths.
The FDA is also investigating whether JUUL is linked to nearly 130 cases of e-cigarette-related seizures, as the company has been accused of fueling the growing nicotine addiction problems among teens in the United States with the design of their product and marketing practices that intentionally targeted teens and prior non-smokers.
A growing number of JUUL addiction lawsuits are also now being pursued against the manufacturers, alleging that the products were illegally marketed to kids while failing to disclose that each of the e-cigarette pods contain more nicotine than a pack of tobacco cigarettes.