Vaping and Heart Health: How E-Cigarettes Affect Heart Rate, Blood Pressure 

Jake Newby

| 3 min read

As if there weren’t enough reasons to avoid or quit vaping, new research is reaffirming the long-held belief that vaping is bad for your heart.
A three-year study conducted by the Cardiac and Lung E-cig Smoking (CLUES) Study compared the short-term effects of vaping, traditional cigarette smoking, and abstinence from smoking by splitting participants into three groups.
Research revealed several notable adverse heart effects. Subjects who used e-cigarettes or other vape products experienced:
  • A greater increase in heart rate after vaping or smoking compared to no change for non-smokers. 
  • An increase in blood pressure compared to non-smokers. 
  • Cardiovascular dysfunction while attempting to perform exercises that predict heart disease risk.
  • Greater constriction of the brachial artery (the main vessel supplying blood to the muscles in your upper arm and elbow joint).
  • Worse measures of heart rate variability.
The cardiovascular dysfunction findings were deemed “particularly concerning” because the negative impact among people who vaped was similar to the impact among those who smoked regular cigarettes, even though e-cigarette smokers were younger and had vaped for nearly two decades less than the traditional smokers.

How else does vaping impact heart health?

In 2019, the American College of Cardiology concluded that vape users may be significantly more likely to suffer from a heart attack, coronary artery disease and depression. Users were one-third more likely to suffer a stroke and 56% more likely to have a heart attack compared to non-vape users. Coronary artery disease and circulatory problems were also higher among users.
Other studies found that inhaling heated tobacco vapor through e-cigarettes was linked to increased odds of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), conditions historically tied to smoking traditional cigarettes.
Researchers say the odds of developing COPD may be as much as six times greater when people vape and smoke tobacco regularly, compared with those who avoid tobacco products altogether.
When it comes down to it, nicotine – the common denominator in regular and e-cigarettes – is a highly addictive agent. It can lead to cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Despite all this recent research, there are still many unknowns about the safety of vaping, especially involving the heart. But there have been several deaths and hospitalizations due to lung injury.

Tips to quit vaping

It’s best to avoid vaping altogether, but that can be easier said than done, especially if you’ve been vaping for some time. Want to kick the habit? These tips could help you formulate a plan:
  • Make a list of reasons to quit
  • Set a “quit day”
  • Identify triggers and prepare to fight them
  • Find support


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) and Blue Care Network (BCN) members with PPO or HMO coverage are eligible for tobacco coaching, which extends to users of e-cigarettes and vaping products.
Call WebMD at 1-855-326-5102 to determine your eligibility and schedule your first call. You can learn more about the program by visiting this link.
Photo credit: Getty Images
MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association