Can you get a blood clot from vaping? According to new research, you can. Nicotine-laden e-cigarettes raise a user’s risk of blood clots, damage small blood vessels and can also raise heart rate and blood pressure, a new study finds.
The effects are similar to those caused by traditional cigarettes, and raise the concern that long-term vaping could help cause heart attacks or strokes, the Swedish research team warns.
“Our results suggest that using e-cigarettes that contain nicotine have similar impacts on the body as smoking traditional cigarettes,” study author Gustaf Lyytinen, a clinician at Helsingborg Hospital and researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm says.
“This effect on blood clots is important because we know that in the long-term this can lead to clogged-up and narrower blood vessels, and that, of course, puts people at risk of heart attacks and strokes,” Lyytinen explains in a society news release.
One U.S. expert wasn’t surprised by the new findings.
Nicotine, whether it’s found in traditional or electronic cigarettes “can lead to heart attack and stroke,” Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City says. “Another reason why e-cigarettes should not be thought of as safer than cigarettes.”
In the new study, Lyytinen’s team conducted experiments with 22 women and men aged 18-45 who were occasional smokers but otherwise healthy.
Participants were tested before and after taking 30 puffs from an e-cigarette containing nicotine, and before and after 30 puffs from an e-cigarette without nicotine. The two tests were conducted on separate occasions, at least one week apart. On each occasion, the researchers measured heart rate and blood pressure and collected a blood sample before the volunteers used the e-cigarettes, then 15 minutes after use and again 60 minutes after use.
Puffing on e-cigarettes containing nicotine led to immediate short-term changes in the volunteers, including an average