Unlike cigarettes, e-cigarettes, also known as e-cigs, have no combustion or tobacco. Instead, these electronic, handheld devices deliver nicotine with flavoring and other chemicals in a vapor into the lungs.
But it does reinforce concerns about the heart risks of nicotine, the researchers note in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Research published this week in the investigates the potential heart health implications of non-smokers using nicotine-based e-cigarettes.
The current study was created to find out whether this effect could be seen in acute, or short-term, use of e-cigarettes, and whether it is due to nicotine or other ingredients present in the devices – such as propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin.
Abnormal heart rate variability in this same pattern has been shown to be associated with increased cardiac risk in populations with and without known heart disease. This current study aimed to find out if nicotine caused these events.
E-cigarettes with nicotine decreased the high-frequency component, increased the low-frequency component and increased the ratio of low frequency and high frequency vs. e-cigarettes without nicotine and the control cigarette.
A team from the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville compared the urine of e-cigarettes users with that of nonsmokers. A study conducted in 2015 found that the vapor of e-cig causes damages to the immune system of mice.
The research also revealed that nicotine, nitrosamines and formaldehyde block DNA fix, boosting the cancer risk.
Penn State College of Medicine said vapers typically wait longer to start using their e-cigs after waking up. There are no increased oxidative stress levels because they only looked at one marker. Sudden fear or anger can lead to a sudden release of adrenaline that may increase the heart rate and blood pressure.
Dr. Holly R. Middlekauff, senior author of the and Professor of medicine (cardiology) and physiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA explained that in comparison with the tar of tobacco cigarette smoke, e-cigarettes deliver fewer carcinogens.
This was so they could determine if nicotine increased the adrenaline levels. During the sessions, heart rate variability was monitored by ECG, and blood tests were performed to analyze various antioxidant parameters and the enzymatic activity of human plasma PON1.
Exposure to e-cigarettes with nicotine, but not e-cigarettes without nicotine, led to increased adrenaline levels to the heart, as indicated by abnormal heart rate variability. Each participant, on separate days, smoked an e-cigarette with nicotine, one without nicotine, and a sham (empty) e-cigarette.
‘While it’s reassuring that the non-nicotine components do not have an obvious effect on adrenaline levels to the heart, these findings challenge the concept that inhaled nicotine is benign, or safe, ‘ Middlekauf said.
“Moreover, patients who reduce or quit smoking by switching to e-cigarettes may improve their cardiovascular, respiratory and metabolic outcomes in the long term”, Polosa said. Only for a short period of time, though.
But oxidative stress, which increases risks for atherosclerosis and heart attack, showed no changes after exposure to e-cigarettes with and without nicotine. She also expressed hope that the study might discourage nonsmokers from taking up electronic cigarettes.