E-cigarettes mimic symptoms of conventional smoking

A Swedish doctor presented new evidence Sept. 11 that e-cigarettes containing nicotine cause stiffening of arteries in humans, adding fuel to the debate of whether the smoking alternative is safe.

Magnus Lundbäck, MD, PhD, discussed his preliminary findings at the European Respiratory Society International Congress in Italy. He and colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, conducted a study in which 15 young adults who weren’t heavy smokers were asked to use e-cigarettes with nicotine and without nicotine for 30 minutes on separate days.

Lundbäck’s team measured blood pressure, arterial stiffness and heart rate immediately after subjects smoked the e-cigarettes, then two and four hours later. Initial findings indicated the e-cigarettes containing nicotine resulted in elevation of the users' blood pressure and heart rates, as well as an increase in arterial stiffness. These symptoms mimic those of conventional cigarette use, Lundbäck said in a European Lung Foundation release.

“The number of e-cigarette users has increased dramatically in the last few years,” he said. “E-cigarettes are regarded by the general public as almost harmless. The e-cigarette industry markets their product as a way to reduce harm and to help people stop smoking tobacco cigarettes, (but) the safety of e-cigarettes is debated, and a growing body of evidence is suggesting several adverse health effects.”

Read up on Lundbäck’s study and the safety of e-cigarettes here: