Vaping combined with smoking is as harmful as smoking alone

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In a new study, researchers found that smoking traditional cigarettes in addition to using e-cigarettes results in harmful health effects similar to smoking cigarettes exclusively.

The research was conducted by a team at Boston University.

Smoking, a well-known link to heart disease and death, appears to be on the decline.

While the use of e-cigarettes, known as vaping, is increasingly popular, there has been limited research on the impact of vaping on the body.

In the study, the team analyzed data of more than 7,100 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

They examined the association of cigarette smoking and e-cigarette use with inflammation and oxidative stress as biomarkers.

Inflammation and oxidative stress are key contributors to smoking-induced heart disease and their biomarkers have been shown to be predictors of cardiovascular events, including heart attack and heart failure.

Five biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress were analyzed.

Of the study participants, more than half (58.6%) did not use cigarettes or e-cigarettes; nearly 2% vaped exclusively; about 30% smoked cigarettes exclusively, and about 10% used e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes.

The analysis found: people who vaped exclusively showed a similar inflammatory and oxidative stress profile as people who did not smoke cigarettes or use e-cigarettes.

People who smoked exclusively and those who used cigarettes and e-cigarettes had higher levels across all biomarkers assessed compared to participants who did not use cigarettes or e-cigarettes.

Compared to people who smoked exclusively, those who vaped exclusively had much lower levels of almost all inflammatory and oxidative stress biomarkers.

However, people who used both cigarettes and e-cigarettes had levels of all inflammatory and oxidative stress biomarkers comparable to those who smoked exclusively.

The study has an important message for individuals who may believe using e-cigarettes while continuing to smoke some combustible cigarettes reduces their risk.

This commonly-seen pattern of dual-use was not linked to lower levels of inflammatory markers and thus is not likely to offer a reduction in health risks.

One author of the study is Andrew C. Stokes, Ph.D., an assistant professor of global health.

The study is published in Circulation.

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