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Study: E-Cigs Could Be More Dangerous Than Traditional

A recent study by the Food and Drug Administration found that a quarter of all high school students used e-cigarettes in 2019, up five percentage points from last year. (TBEC Review/Wikimedia Commons)
A recent study by the Food and Drug Administration found that a quarter of all high school students used e-cigarettes in 2019, up five percentage points from last year. (TBEC Review/Wikimedia Commons)
November 26, 2019

DENVER — In the wake of recent reports of fatal lung illness connected with the use of e-cigarettes, new research seems to confirm concerns about the health impacts of vaping.

A study by Boston University researchers found e-cigarettes altered cholesterol levels. And Dr. Florian Rader, a cardiologist with the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said his group's research suggests vaping may be more harmful to heart health than traditional cigarettes.

"And now our study adds to the evidence that e-cigarette smoking may not be quite as healthy as it's being portrayed,” Rader said. “And I think that there's reason enough for now to be at least cautious."

Rader compared the blood flow of 10 non-smokers, 10 tobacco cigarette smokers and 10 e-cigarette users. Testing blood flows at rest and while squeezing a hand grip, only e-cigarette users showed signs of coronary vascular dysfunction even when they were not exerting themselves physically.

Industry groups previously have argued vaping is a healthy alternative to traditional cigarettes, especially for people trying to kick their smoking habit.

Commercials for e-cigarettes do warn about the health risks of nicotine, but JoAnna Strother, senior director of advocacy with the American Lung Association in Colorado, said there's no evidence electronic cigarettes are an effective cessation device.

"You're talking about a product that isn't well regulated, and so we just can't say for sure if this is a safer alternative,” Strother said. “What we know right now is actually very troublesome."

A recent study by the Food and Drug Administration found a quarter of all high school students used e-cigarettes in 2019, up five percentage points from 2018. Rader noted his group's initial research and limited trial size could be improved upon by future studies and by testing health impacts over time to determine the true public health impacts of vaping.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO