A new study has recently found that e-cigarettes with nicotine cause a stiffening of the arteries in humans which is associated with an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes in later life.
Dr Magnus Lundback, who introduced the research at the European Respiratory Society International Congress said: "The number of e-cigarette users has increased dramatically in the last few years. E-cigarettes are regarded by the general public as almost harmless. The e-cigarette industry markets their product as a way to reduce harm and to help people to stop smoking tobacco cigarettes. However, the safety of e-cigarettes is debated, and a growing body of evidence is suggesting several adverse health effects.
"The results are preliminary, but in this study we found there was a significant increase in heart rate and blood pressure in the volunteers who were exposed to e-cigarettes containing nicotine. Arterial stiffness increased around three-fold in those who were exposed to nicotine containing e-cigarettes compared to the nicotine-free group."
Dr Lundback (MD, PhD), research leader and clinical registrar at the Danderyd University Hospital, Karolinska Institute, in Stockholm, Sweden, and his colleagues studied that after smoking e-cigarettes containing nicotine, there was a significant increase in blood pressure, heart rate and arterial stiffness; no such effect was seen on heart rate and arterial stiffness in the volunteers who had smoked e-cigarettes without nicotine.
"It is very important that the results of this and other studies reach the general public and the health care professionals working in preventive health care, for example in smoking cessation. Our results underline the necessity of maintaining a critical and cautious attitude towards e-cigarettes, especially for health care professionals. E-cigarette users should be aware of the potential dangers of this product, so that they can decide whether to continue or quit based on scientific facts."
He continued, "therefore, our research concerns a very large population and our results may prevent future health problems for a huge number of people. It is of the utmost importance to investigate further the possible long-term effects of daily e-cigarette use through studies that are funded independently of the e-cigarette industry."
They are continuing to research on the effects of e-cigarettes on blood vessel and lung functions in humans.