June 14, 2016
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E-cigarettes increase aortic stiffness, BP in similar manner to tobacco cigarettes

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Despite being considered a safer alternative by some, electronic cigarettes were associated with increased aortic stiffness and BP in a similar manner to tobacco cigarettes, according to a research letter published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Charalambos Vlachopoulos, MD, from the 1st cardiology department, Athens Medical School, Hippokration Hospital, Greece, and colleagues studied 24 smokers without other CV risk factors (mean age, 30 years) during 96 sessions.

The categories measured were: tobacco cigarettes smoked for 5 minutes; e-cigarettes smoked for 5 minutes; e-cigarettes smoked for 30 minutes; and no cigarettes smoked for 60 minutes (sham procedure). Carotid-femoral pulse wave technology measured aortic stiffness.

The researchers found that e-cigarettes smoked for 5 minutes induced a large pulse wave velocity increase (0.19 m/s) after 15 minutes. E-cigarettes smoked for 30 minutes induced a larger and more prolonged pulse wave velocity increase (0.36 m/s peak immediately after smoking). Tobacco cigarettes also were associated with pulse wave velocity increase (0.44 m/s immediately after smoking, sustained for entire period).

E-cigarettes smoked for 5 minutes resulted in a less potent pulse wave velocity increase compared with tobacco cigarettes (P = .005), whereas e-cigarettes smoked for 30 minutes showed a more potent pulse wave velocity increase over electronic cigarettes smoked for 5 minutes (P = .03) and a similar increase vs. tobacco cigarettes (P = .615), according to the researchers.

Both forms of smoking increased systolic BP (P for tobacco cigarettes vs. sham < .01; P for 5-minute e-cigarettes vs. sham < .05; P for 30-minute e-cigarettes vs. sham = .01), but the differences between them were not statistically significant. Similar patterns were observed for diastolic BP.

The researchers wrote, “With the strong tendency of [e-cigarettes] to spread worldwide, especially within younger ages, our findings have important implications that could aid recommendations regarding the use of [e-cigarette] smoking.” – by James Clark

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.