E-cigarettes Increase Risk Of Heart Disease – Study

By Reina Ilagan

Dec 05, 2016 10:14 AM EST

Electronic cigarettes have gained popularity in the recent years, with some smokers using it as a "safer" alternative to traditional cigarettes, while others use it to help them quit tobacco. However, a study conducted by scientists at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm have discovered that just ten puffs on an e-cigarette is enough to trigger the development of heart disease.

The study, which was published in the journal Atherosclerosis, revealed that e-cigarettes raise blood pressure and promote the hardening of arteries.

The researchers asked 16 occasional smokers to each take ten puffs on an e-cigarette. The research found that the short exposure to e-cigarette vapor caused a rapid raise in levels of a cell type indicating the damage to the inner lining of blood vessels.

The alarming note was that the increase recorded in the use of e-cigarette was of the same magnitude as that of a traditional smoker.

"It really surprises me that so little vapor from an e-cigarette is needed to start the heart disease ball rolling. It's worrying that one e-cigarette can trigger such a response," said Professor Joep Perk, a heart specialist and spokesman for the European Society of Cardiology.

There have been numerous studies investigating on the effects of e-cigarettes on people's health. And the findings of this study matched the result of another research done by a team at the University of Athens Medical School. The study claimed that half an hour of puffing on an e-cigarette caused similar stiffness in the aorta as smoking a tobacco cigarette.

"E-cigarettes are less harmful [than smoking tobacco] but they are not harmless. I wouldn't recommend them as a method of giving up smoking," said Professor Charalambos Vlachopulos, the team's leader.

A separate research reported that the additives used for vapor flavoring could be dangerous, as the heat that converts e-liquids into vapor decomposes its contents.

Once converted into vapor, the additives break down into toxic compounds. Even a single puff of flavored e-cigarette can already endanger the smoker's health because of the cancer-causing chemicals that are way beyond the safety level.

Earlier this year, another study which was published in the journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine, indicated that those who use e-cigarettes are 28% less likely to quit tobacco than those who did not vape.

The study's co-author, Stanton Glantz, said, "While there is no question that a puff on an e-cigarette is less dangerous than a puff on a conventional cigarette, the most dangerous thing about e-cigarettes is that they keep people smoking conventional cigarettes."

However, there are a number of medical organizations in the UK that encourage smokers to switch from tobacco to e-cigarettes. In a statement issued by Public Health England, the agency said that the electronic smoking devices are 95% less harmful than smoking.

Critics have also been vocal about their concern on the long-term effects of e-cigarette. Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said that since e-cigarettes have not been present long enough to determine the effects of its long-term use, it would be wise to take precautionary steps and "regulate them as much as possible."

Dr Filippos Filippidis,   lecturer in public health at Imperial College, London, expressed the same concerna, saying, "We don't know whether we may start to see diseases emerge in ten or 20 years' time associated with some of the ingredients. We urgently need more research into the devices."

Dr Filippidis added that major tobacco companies will soon market their own e-cigarettes claiming to offer reduced harm. But knowing that these companies have created products which have caused numerous deaths in the past, he said that he doesn't think they should be trusted with people's health.

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