Cardiovascular Risks of “Vaping” and E-cigarettes
Node Smith, ND
The use of electronic cigarettes, or “vaping” is become increasingly popular. There may be an idea that the use of e-cigarettes is less harmful to one’s health. It may not technically be “smoking,” however, the use of e-cigarettes is beginning to show a significant detrimental impact on vascular health, says a recent study.1
Study highlights significant health risks associated with e-cigarettes using nicotine
Published in Vascular Medicine, the study brings to the forefront significant health risks associated with e-cigarettes using nicotine. The study showed that users of e-cigarettes had the same cardiovascular effects as those seen in smoking traditional cigarettes. It is preliminary research which will likely impact our understanding of the overall risk of e-cigarette use.
Participants vitals were monitored during and after smoking traditional cigarettes, and e-cigarettes with and without nicotine. Smoking lasted roughly 5 minutes, and vaping consisted of a 5-minute session as well. Vitals were monitored for 2 hours from the beginning of smoking session.
The findings revealed that nicotine containing e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes had virtually the same impact on vitals, with blood pressure, and heart rate being sustained at an elevated rate. Surprisingly, the e-cigarette actually had a much longer affect, with systolic blood pressure being raised for 45 minutes, compared to only 15 minutes after smoking a traditional cigarette. Heart rate was also elevated for 45 minutes following e-cigarette use. For the first 30 minutes the heart rate was elevated at a consistent level 8% higher than baseline.
The lead author of the study concluded, “the increased parameters within the nicotine containing devices might be a link to an increased cardiovascular risk which is well known for cigarettes.”
Future trials will likely focus on the difference between nicotine-free and nicotine containing e-cigarettes
Future trials will likely focus further on the difference between nicotine-free and nicotine containing e-cigarettes, and their chronic effects on peripheral and central blood pressure and arterial stiffness. Endothelial dysfunction and gender differences have also been discussed as future research aims.
- Franzen KF, Willig J, Talavera SC, et al. E-cigarettes and cigarettes worsen peripheral and central hemodynamics as well as arterial stiffness: A randomized, double-blinded pilot study. Vascular Medicine, July 9, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1177/1358863X18779694
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Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Portland, OR and associate editor for NDNR. He has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine among the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend camp-out where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Four years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.