Vaping raises risk of heart attack, stroke - study

Many people are choosing vaping as a 'healthier' alternative to smoking, but doctors are warning the practice comes with its own severe health risks.

A new study out of Stanford University this week shows the flavouring liquid used in popular electronic cigarettes may increase the risk of heart disease when inhaled.

The study, published this week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, investigates the effect on e-liquids on the cells that line the interior of blood of blood vessels, called endothelial cells.

The researchers say the result was the cells are "less viable" and show "significantly increased levels" of molecules implicated in DNA damage and cell death.

Researchers also found that the cells were less able to move throughout the body and heal themselves.

Scientists looked at six different popular e-cig flavours: fruit, tobacco, sweet tobacco with caramel and vanilla, sweet butterscotch, cinnamon and menthol.

Cinnamon and menthol were deemed "particularly harmful".

Study senior author Professor Joseph Wu, of Stanford University School of Medicine in the US, says the results held strong even after they accounted for other potential risk factors, such as age, excess weight, diabetes and smoking.

"When you're smoking a traditional cigarette, you have a sense of how many cigarettes you're smoking," Dr Wu says.

"But e-cigarettes can be deceptive. It's much easier to expose yourself to a much higher level of nicotine over a shorter time period. And now we know that e-cigarettes are likely to have other significantly toxic effects on vascular function as well."

The Ministry of Health is currently working on a campaign urging Kiwi smokers to dump the cigarettes and take up vaping.