E-cigarretes have always been controversial. While past research has found that it increases risk of cigarette smoking in youth, studies have also shown that less cancer-causing toxins are found in users of e-cigarettes. Now, a new study has suggested that a single exposure to e-cigarette vapour may be enough to impair vascular function. Researchers from West Virginia University researchers studied artery diameter, the blood vessels’ ability to widen (vasodilation) and aortic stiffness in female mice after short- and long-term exposure to flavoured e-cig vapour.
Aortic stiffness is an age-related complication in the heart’s main artery (aorta) that can be an indicator of cardiovascular disease. They found that within an hour of the five-minute e-cig exposure, the short-term group’s arteries narrowed by approximately 30%. Vasodilation decreased as well.
Long-term exposure to e-cig vapour (20 hours per week over a period of eight months) also produced negative effects of chronic e-cig use, including aortic stiffness, which was more than twice as high as control groups exposed to normal room air.
“These data indicate that e-cigs should not be considered safe and that they induce significant deleterious effects” on blood vessel function, wrote the authors. The study will be presented at the Cardiovascular Aging: New Frontiers and Old Friends meeting in Westminster, Colo.