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Vaping and Strokes

Recent study claims E-cigarettes may pose the same or higher risk of stroke severity as tobacco smoke

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Anti-vape American Heart Association (AHA) graduate student presents mice-research findings to an AHA conference. His conclusion is that vaping is as worse as, if not worse than smoking as far as brain health goes. There is no peer-review process to support his findings and no data has been released. The Mail and the Mirror do not care; the papers have reported his claims as though they are facts.

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a brain attack. It happens when the blood supply to part of your brain is cut off. Blood carries essential nutrients and oxygen to your brain. Without blood your brain cells can be damaged or die. This damage can have different effects, depending on where it happens in your brain. A stroke can affect the way your body works as well as how you think, feel and communicate.

Mice were exposed to an unknown quantity of vapour for 10 days or 30 days. Immediately, it is clear that this investigation has used an artificial situation that fails to reflect vaping in humans. The student noted that these mice had worse stroke outcome and neurological deficits, than those exposed to tobacco smoke.

"Ecigarette exposure decreased glucose uptake in the brain. Glucose fuels brain activity,” said the study’s author, Ali Ehsan Sifat. “Both ecig and tobacco smoke exposure for 30 days significantly impaired circulating levels of an enzyme required for clotting, potentially increasing the risk for stroke and worsened secondary brain injury."

While the study found that both e-Cig and tobacco smoke exposure for 30 days decreased Thrombomodulin (the anti-coagulant enzyme) levels, not releasing the methodology severely restricts the use of his comments. It raises more questions than he provides answers for.

“From a brain health perspective,” his press release says, “electronic-cigarette vaping is not safer than tobacco smoking, and may pose a similar, if not higher risk for stroke severity.”

It is a bold anti-vape categorical statement befitting the AHA, but does his one small study endow him with the all-encompassing data to make such a rash claim? Surely it can’t have anything to do with the $50 million that the AHA received from pharmaceutical companies last year?

This gave the Daily Mirror the opportunity to revive old ghosts: “They have been branded a ‘gateway to smoking’.” Despite strong evidence being made available in the UK to support the notion of the harm reduction potential of vaping, the Mirror goes on to dredge up the critical and flawed cardio-vascular study we covered last week.

The Mail will publish any old rubbish as long as it encourages people to visit the website: “Experts now warn that the popular gadgets are not any safer than cigarettes.”

This is a single research student, there’s only one of him, and he is a long way from being able to call himself an expert in anything. Hidden away behind the attention-grabbing headlines, the Mail does go on to cite genuine experts at University College London. No wonder smokers are confused about the benefits of switching.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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