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Study finds e-cigarettes may raise risk of heart failure

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Vaping substantially increases the risk of developing heart failure, new research suggests.

Those who use e-cigarettes are almost a fifth more likely to go onto develop the deadly condition, according to a four-year study.

Experts said it was particularly worrying given the large numbers of young people adopting the habit and warned it was 'worth considering the consequences to your health'.

Heart failure is a condition affecting in which the heart becomes too stiff or too weak to pump blood as effectively as it should.

More than a million UK adults and around 6.5million in the US suffer its debilitating symptoms.

Researchers tracked 175,000 adults in the US, and found those who use e-cigarettes were 19 per cent more likely to develop heart failure.

The increased risk was found to be the case after adjusting for other factors that can cause the condition, such as whether the participants were tobacco smokers or obese.

Dr Yakubu Bene-Alhasan, lead author of the new study, from MedStar Health in Baltimore, said: 'More and more studies are linking e-cigarettes to harmful effects and finding that it might not be as safe as previously thought.

'The difference we saw was substantial. 

'It's worth considering the consequences to your health, especially with regard to heart health.

'I think this research is long overdue, especially considering how much e-cigarettes have gained traction.

Researchers tracked 175,000 adults in the United States, and found those who use e-cigarettes were 19 per cent more likely to develop heart failure

'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 uncover a lot more about the potential health consequences and improve the information out to the public.'

The findings are being presented at the American College of Cardiology's Annual Scientific conference today.

The study involved 175,667 US adults, with an average age of 52.

Some 3,242 of them developed heart failure over the four-year follow-up period.

E-cigarette use was associated with a statistically significant increase in the risk of the most common type of heart failure, known as heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) — in which the heart muscle becomes stiff and does not properly fill with blood between contractions. 

However, it was not found to increase the risk of reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) —where the heart muscle becomes weak and the left ventricle does not squeeze as hard as it should during contractions.

The findings are part of mounting evidence over the possible long-term harms to health caused by vaping.

While generally considered less damaging than smoking by health officials, previous research found that e-cigarettes cause the same rises in blood pressure and heart rate seen after smoking tobacco.

A study last month found it caused cell changes similar to those seen by smoking, which risk going on to become cancerous.

Figures show that one in five children has tried vaping despite it being illegal for under-18s, while the number of children using vapes has tripled in the past three years.

It led the Government to introduce a Bill aimed at combating the scourge of childhood vaping.

Under the Tobacco and Vapes Bill, new powers are set to restrict vape flavours and packaging intentionally marketed at children.

James Leiper, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said: 'This is the largest study yet to show a clear link between vaping and an increased chance of developing heart failure, a debilitating disease that prevents your heart from working properly.

'More research is needed to understand how exactly vaping increases the risk of heart failure, but these significant findings add to growing evidence that vaping has a harmful long-term impact on the heart and blood vessels.

'This is an important reminder that e-cigarettes are not harm-free. 

'If you are concerned about your heart and circulation health, it is sensible to take steps to stop vaping.'

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