November 14, 2018
2 min read

E-cigarettes affect platelet function similarly to tobacco cigarettes

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Smoking electronic cigarettes provokes changes in soluble CD40-ligand, soluble P-selectin and platelet function in smokers and nonsmokers in ways that are similar to the smoking of tobacco cigarettes, according to a study published in The American Journal of Cardiology.

“This is the first study to examine the effect of exposure to both conventional tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes on platelet function in vivo,” Cristina Nocella, PhD, of IRCCS NeuroMed in Pozzilli, Italy, and colleagues wrote. “In smokers and nonsmokers without cardiovascular disease, use of both products leads to an increase in platelet activation. The effects of e-cigarettes were less pronounced than those of [tobacco] cigarettes in nonsmokers. Conversely, the effect of e-cigarettes in smokers showed a less detrimental impact than [tobacco] cigarettes but only for platelet aggregation.”

To compare the effect of e-cigarettes with tobacco cigarettes on platelet function, researchers conducted a crossover single-blind study of 20 smokers and 20 nonsmokers who were matched for age and sex (mean age, 28 years; 53% women) between September 2014 and March 2015. Smokers had higher baseline levels of soluble CD40-ligand and soluble P-selectin markers than nonsmokers, according to the researchers.

In the first phase of the study, participants smoked one tobacco cigarette with a mean nicotine content of 0.6 mg. Smokers were asked not to smoke for at least 12 hours beforehand. Researchers took blood samples from participants before and 5 minutes after smoking.

One week later, participants engaged in the second phase of the study in which they vaped a tobacco-flavored e-cigarette for a total of nine puffs, which equaled a nicotine content of 0.6 mg. Blood samples were again taken before and 5 minutes afterward.

Researchers detected that, within 5 minutes of using a tobacco cigarette or an e-cigarette, there were changes in the levels of soluble CD40-ligand, soluble P-selectin and platelet aggregation (P .01 for all) in smokers and nonsmokers.

Although there were no significant changes in soluble CD40-ligand and soluble P-selectin in smokers, there was an increase in platelet aggregation (P = .031).

For nonsmokers, researchers observed a significant increase in all markers of platelet activation after smoking tobacco cigarettes or e-cigarettes.

“Our data suggest that both tobacco cigarette and e-cigarette use acutely increase platelet activation,” the researchers wrote. “We encourage future investigation to confirm these findings, and long-term investigations to clarify if there are chronic cardiovascular effects of e-cigarette use.” – by Melissa J. Webb

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.