E-cigarette use increases the risk of heart attacks that happened 10 years before e-cigarette use initiation (!!!)

By Dr Farsalinos

Recently, a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association showed (once again) that e-cigarette use was associated with higher chance of having had a heart attack. As explained in a previous comment about another similar study (by the same main author), the misinterpretation of these findings as presenting “increased risk” for developing heart attacks is epidemiological malpractice and violates basic principles of epidemiological research that even medical students know and understand. The main problem in interpreting associations as increased risk comes from the fact that the time of the heart attack relative to the initiation of e-cigarette use is unknown. Well, at least in most cases…

But the latter study is a different story. The study used data from the 1st wave of PATH. However, PATH has a question “How old were you when you were first told you had a heart attack (also called myocardial infarction) or needed bypass surgery?” Interestingly, the authors of the study completely ignored this question. But other looked at it. Prof Brad Rodu recently reported in a USA TODAY article that the vast majority of vapers who reported having had a heart attack developed it on average 10 years BEFORE e-cigarette use initiation… So, e-cigarette use increases the risk of heart attacks that happened 10 years before using e-cigarettes!!!

No, this should not be considered a joke. It is a serious problem, a fatally flawed study that needs to be retracted immediately if the findings reported in the USA TODAY article are true. There are no ifs or buts, and there is no need for further comments or arguments. I need to emphasize: if the results reported in the USA TODAY article are true, the scientific community needs to protect itself from such a horrendous work that challenges the integrity and ethics of medicine.


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