Vaping may be worse on cholesterol and blood flow than smoking

Electronic cigarettes may have a similar effect on 'good' cholesterol levels as smoking traditional cigarettes, plus they may cause an increase in one's level of LDL 'bad' cholesterol, according to a new study. Joining the research is a second study that has also linked vaping with worrisome effects on the body's ability to pump blood — ones that are even worse than the troubles experienced by tobacco smokers.

The findings are concerning for multiple reasons, not the least of which is the popular belief that vaping is 'safer' than smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes. A pair of new studies that are scheduled to be presented at an American Heart Association presentation are the latest to say otherwise, finding the people who vape experience worse blood flow issues than smokers.

It has been established by past research that ordinary tobacco cigarettes cause a reduction in blood flow during exercise, but a new small study found that vapers may experience this reduced blood flow during rest as well as exercise. In comparison, blood flow is known to return to normal in smokers when they're at rest.

A larger second study involving a few hundred participants found concerning links between vaping and changes in cholesterol levels. The participants — all of whom were healthy at the start of the study — were split into groups that included non-smokers, vapers, smokers, and people who both vaped and smoked.

In comparison to non-smokers, the study found that people who vape and smoke had lower levels of HDL 'good' cholesterol. In addition, vapers were found to have higher levels of LDL 'bad' cholesterol, indicating the potential for a big problem paving the way to heart disease and related issues like heart attack and stroke.

These studies join a growing body of research that has linked electronic cigarettes with various health issues, including everything from the development of wheezing to vascular issues; as well, many products contain unknown or untested ingredients, something that has, for example, resulted in the ongoing EVALI outbreak.