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Cardiovascular diseases

E-cigarettes containing nicotine raise blood pressure and heart rate

Users of e-cigarettes containing nicotine experience “significant” increased stiffening of the arteries, while blood pressure and heart rate also rise, according to the results of a Swedish study[1].

The increases, the academics warn, mean that users are more likely to have a stroke or heart attack in later life.

Their findings are based on research involving 15 volunteers who smoked fewer than 10 traditional cigarettes a month. None had smoked e-cigarettes before; the average age was 26 years.

The volunteers smoked e-cigarettes with nicotine for 30 minutes on one day, and the same group smoked e-cigarettes without nicotine for the same period on another day.

Researchers measured the volunteers’ blood pressure, heart rate and arterial stiffness 30 minutes after they had finished smoking, and again two and four hours later.

They found that blood pressure and heart rate increased after 30 minutes, while there was also a three-fold increase in arterial stiffness after volunteers smoked nicotine-containing e-cigarettes compared with non-nicotine e-cigarettes.

Although the increases were temporary, researcher Dr Magnus Lundbäck, who presented the findings to the European Respiratory Society International Congress in Milan on Monday 11 September 2017, said: “We speculate that chronic exposure to e-cigarettes with nicotine may cause permanent effects on arterial stiffness in the long term.”

Meanwhile, the results of another study presented to the congress on the same day found that maternal e-cigarette vaping is linked to an increased risk of and severity of allergic asthma in offspring[2].

Although the conclusions were based on the results of a study involving mice, the researchers claim the results have implications for humans.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20203546

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