A recent study indicates that using e-cigarettes could lead to heart arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats.
Researchers found that e-cigarette use led to premature or skipped heartbeats in mice, The Daily Mail reported. An irregular heartbeat can lead to life-threatening complications such as strokes, blood clots, and even cardiac arrests in severe cases.
Rodents that were exposed to vape smoke saw their heart rate plummet immediately after the experiment and then shoot up soon afterward. This was only the case with specific chemicals that were found in fruity and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes that are becoming increasingly popular among children and teens. Traditional tobacco cigarettes also cause users’ heart rates to drop just 20 minutes after smoking before shooting back up, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Surge in Vaping and E-Cigarette Use
The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Alex Carll, an assistant professor at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, said their findings show that even short-term exposure to e-cigarettes can destabilize heart rhythm. This is caused by specific chemicals within e-liquids. Both the United States and the United Kingdom are grappling with a vaping epidemic among youth with 2.6 million U.S. teens who are regular users.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 2.5 million Americans in middle or high school admit to using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, which is a 24% increase compared to 2021. This marks the first such increase since the CDC started gathering annual data on vaping in 2019.
The Danger of Heart Arrhythmias
Heart arrhythmias can be dangerous or even lethal. The normal electrical signals that command the heart to pump blood to the lungs and the rest of the body fail when this occurs, throwing the heart out of rhythm. Arrhythmias may be caused by a number of conditions from diabetes or COVID-19 to heart attack or blocked arteries.
The most common type of arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation or AFib, responsible for about 460,000 hospitalizations and 150,000 deaths each year in the U.S. The CDC estimates that about 2,000 young, healthy people under the age of 25 die of sudden cardiac arrest in the United States each year. Arrhythmias can be fatal if a regular heartbeat is not restored within minutes.
The CDC underscores that e-cigarettes are not harmless. They contain nicotine, which is not only highly addictive but also toxic to developing fetuses and could cause harm to young adult brain development. Apart from nicotine, e-cigarettes also contain carcinogens that reach deep into the lungs. As of September 2019, 530 cases of lung injury and seven deaths due to vaping have been reported in the U.S. Symptoms of vaping-related lung injury include rapid onset of coughing, breathing difficulties, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
E-cigarette companies have been notorious for the manner in which they have targeted children and teens with flavors of vapes such as cherry, bubble gum, menthol, etc. The Biden Administration has said it will curb the use of vapes in the U.S. Flavored e-cigarettes, which are wildly popular among kids, now need specific approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to find their way to store shelves.
Some believe e-cigarettes don’t cause injury or harm like standard tobacco cigarettes. But research has consistently shown otherwise. Previous research has shown that those who vape are at risk of developing airway obstructions similar to those suffered by individuals with asthma and COPD.
A recent Harvard University study found that younger chronic users of vapes were experiencing respiratory systems like those with severe lung conditions. Some studies have also found vape users to suffer from “popcorn lung,” which is a devastating condition caused by diacetyl in many of these e-cigarette flavors.
This most recent research simply confirms the potential for long-term health problems connected with vaping. The finding that e-cig use could lead to arrhythmias is new and important because it provides fresh proof that use of vaping devices could interfere with normal heart rhythms. This is a cause of concern with a surge in e-cigarette use setting back public health gains made by anti-tobacco advocates over the last several decades, researchers said.
E-Cigarettes Are a Parent’s Nightmare
E-cigarettes may be a marketer’s dream. But they are a parent’s nightmare. Children and teens seem to be under the impression that vaping is harmless. The pods come in a variety of kid-friendly flavors that are more attractive than the taste of tobacco. Also, vapes are easy to hide because they are small.
For example, a JUUL pod looks like a flash drive and can be easily hidden away in a backpack or even in one’s pocket. Vaping is also easier to do indoors such as in restrooms. Above all, social media has made vaping “cool.” Most kids see influencers on Instagram or TikTok promoting and using these products. Peer pressure drives kids to try vaping and then they become addicted.
How to File an E-Cigarette Lawsuit
If you or a loved one has experienced serious health conditions connected to vaping, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the company that manufactured, marketed, distributed, and/or sold the defective device. The medical injuries suffered by users can be complex, which is why you should seek the counsel of an attorney who has experience successfully handling similar lawsuits.