Effects of vaping impact male heart health more than female

effects of vaping

Research from the US suggests that the long-term effects of vaping are far worse on the cardiovascular health of adult males than females.

A mouse study conducted by a team of researchers at The Ohio State University College of Medicine has found that the long-term effects of vaping were more severe on the cardiovascular system of adult males than females, providing unprecedented insights into the dangers of using e-cigarettes.

The investigation, which is published in Circulation, is part of an American Heart Association $5.5 million grant awarded in 2020 to researchers in The Ohio State University’s colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health and Engineering. The grant also funds research into finding optimal regulations to mitigate the attractiveness and addictiveness of vaping for youths and the best strategies for curbing addictions.

Prevalence of e-cigarette use

The researchers explained that their analysis outlines the significant health threats of vaping, most notably in youths. A recent study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signified that over 50% of high school seniors have tried vaping, with nearly a third reporting regular use. This is concerning as e-cigarettes contain nicotine – an addictive drug that can affect adolescent brain development.

Loren Wold, the study’s senior author and associate dean for research operations and compliance in the Ohio State College of Medicine, said: “We don’t know the long-term effects of vaping because it’s only been around since the early 2000s. We haven’t had the time required to see what happens, especially with adolescents. To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate cardiac function in adolescent mice exposed to e-cigarette aerosol.

“An animal study like this is important because it’s not possible to enrol children in a study like this. These types of studies give us an idea of the dangers of vaping so we can develop therapies as well as inform parents and public policymakers on the risks of vaping.”

The long-term effects of vaping

To analyse the long-term effects of vaping, the researchers exposed the mice to an e-cigarette aerosol mixture of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin and nicotine. The experiment started at the human equivalent age of around twelve years and lasted until about the age of 30.

Throughout the study period, the team observed declining heart function in the males; contrastingly, the females’ heart function was unaffected. Moreover, the females had considerably higher amounts of an enzyme called CYP2A5 (CYP2A6 in humans), which breaks down nicotine, than the males.

“The results were surprising. We were shocked at the amount of protection afforded to females,” Wold said. “The theory is that since the enzyme breaks down nicotine so much faster, the nicotine isn’t in the circulation as long, and that may be why females exhibit protection from vaping.”

Future research

The team are now aiming to identify the specific point of adolescent development that cardiac dysfunction is taking place and confirm if CYP2A6 safeguards females from having heart conditions due to vaping.

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