Daily e-cigarette users double their risk for MI

Though e-cigarettes have generally been viewed as “less risky” than conventional cigarettes, new research published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests the alternative can double the risk of developing myocardial infarction (MI).

In the study, led by Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, the researchers examined the association between e-cigarette use and MI.

“Most adults who use e-cigarettes continue to smoke cigarettes,” Glantz said in a prepared statement. “While people may think they are reducing their health risks, we found that the heart attack risk of e-cigarettes adds to the risk of smoking cigarettes. Using both products at the same time is worse than using either one separately. Someone who continues to smoke daily while using e-cigarettes daily increases the odds of a heart attack by a factor of five.”

The researchers analyzed more than 69,000 people who were interview through National Health Review surveys in 2014 and 2016. Participants were asked whether they had previously used e-cigarettes and/or conventional cigarettes and whether they had been told by a physician that they had MI.

Among the more than 9,300 current and former e-cigarettes users, almost 4 percent had experienced MI at some point—and 6 percent of those users had used e-cigarettes daily.

About 25 percent of the people who currently use e-cigarettes were former smokers of conventional cigarettes. About 66 percent of current e-cigarette users were also current smokers. The researchers found:

  • The total odds of experiencing MO were about the same for daily conventional cigarette smokers as to those who switched to daily e-cigarette use.
  • There was an almost five-fold increase in the risk for MI in those people who used both products daily, compared to those who never used either product.

“Dual use of e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes—the most common use pattern among e-cigarette users—is more dangerous than using either product alone,” the authors concluded. “From these findings, recreational use of e-cigarettes or use of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation should not be recommended.”