Sunday, September 2, 2012

Study of e-cigarette use finds no short-term effect for some measures of heart function

Electronic cigarettes may have no acute adverse effects on cardiac function, according to research presented at an ESC Congress 2012 press conference by Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos from Greece.

Electronic cigarettes simulate the effect of smoking by producing an inhaled vapor. The device consists of a battery, a cartridge containing liquid and a heating element which gets warm and evaporates the liquid. Laboratory analyses of the liquids show that they are less toxic than regular cigarettes. Most studies have found no nitrosamines, but even in studies where nitrosamines were found, the levels detected were 500-1400 times less than the amount present in one tobacco cigarette. This means that electronic cigarettes must be used daily for 4-12 months to get the amount of nitrosamines present in a single tobacco cigarette.

A Greek research team decided to perform the first clinical study of the acute effects of electronic 
cigarettes on cardiac function. They decided to compare their results with the acute effects of regular cigarettes on cardiac function since electronic cigarettes are marketed to smokers only, as an alternative habit.

The small study measured myocardial function in 20 healthy young daily smokers aged 25-45 years 
before and after smoking one tobacco cigarette and 22 daily electronic cigarette users of similar age before and after using the device for 7 minutes.

Experienced users of electronic cigarettes were studied because they use the device more 
intensively than first-time users. Although both groups were of equal age, users of electronic cigarettes had a 44% higher lifetime tobacco smoking exposure compared to current smokers.

For the electronic cigarettes, a commercially available liquid with a nicotine concentration of 11mg/ml 
was used (NOBACCO USA Mix). This was tested by an independent toxicology laboratory and found to contain no nitrosamines or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Myocardial function was examined using cardiac ultrasound (echocardiography) and hemodynamic measurements (blood pressure and heart rate).

The researchers found that electronic cigarettes produced only a slight elevation in diastolic blood 
pressure. Dr Farsalinos said: “This is an indication that although nicotine was present in the liquid used (11mg/ml), it is absorbed at a lower rate compared to regular cigarette smoking.”

He added: “It is too early to say whether the electronic cigarette is a revolution in tobacco harm 
reduction but the potential is there. It is the only available product that deals with both the chemical (nicotine delivery) and psychological (inhaling and exhaling ‘smoke’, holding it, etc) addiction to smoking, laboratory analyses indicate that it is significantly less toxic and our study has shown no significant defects in cardiac function after acute use.”

Dr Farsalinos continued: “More clinical studies need to be done before suggesting that this is a 
revolutionary product. However, considering the extreme hazards associated with cigarette smoking, currently available data suggest that electronic cigarettes are far less harmful and substituting tobacco with electronic cigarettes may be beneficial to health.”

Dr Farsalinos will also present his results during an ESC Congress 2012 scientific session tomorrow.

Contributors: Konstantinos Farsalinos, MD1, Dimitris Tsiapras, MD1, Stamatis Kyrzopoulos, MD1, 
and Vassilis Voudris, MD1 
1 Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, Athens, Greece

Authors: Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos (Greece), Onassis Cardiac Surgery CenterRefers to session: Tobacco: from early damage to late impact 

Refers to press conference:  First-hand smoke, second-hand smoke or electronic cigarettes


Lindsay Fox said...

This is great news. It's always good to see some research supporting e-cigarettes.

Lindsay Fox said...

Here's the article I wrote which confirms e-cigarettes pose no harm to the heart:

Panos Panayiotopoulos said...

Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos and his team has contributed great information for electronic cigarettes. In Greece, we are very for this research team and looking forward their new data...