An article recently published by Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos reinforces the evidence of the beneficial effects of switching from smoking to e-cigarette use, as quoted by the author in his blog, by addressing blood pressure and heart rate [1].

The findings of the specialist and his team are that a statistically significant reduction was observed in (systolic) blood pressure in the participants having continuously reduced smoking (>50% reduction) and in those who had quit smoking with the use of e-cigarettes.

In conclusion, smokers who reduce or quit smoking by switching to e-cigarettes may lower their systolic BP [blood pressure] in the long term, and this reduction is apparent in smokers with elevated BP [blood pressure].Farsalinos et al., 2016

The study did not find any changes in blood pressure when assessing all participants, because the vast majority initially had normal blood pressure and no change in this parameter was expected to occur within the 12-month duration of the survey. Their interest was rather directed towards the population with an initially high blood pressure (high-normal or higher, as defined by the European Society of Cardiology). The reduction in blood pressure was evident even after adjusting for confounders such as age, gender and weight gain.

The ECLAT method, a source of enlightenment

Regular smokers from Catania (Italy) not intending to quit were invited to try e-cigarettes.
Regular smokers from Catania (Italy) not intending to quit were invited to try e-cigarettes.

The ECLAT method [2] was also supporting a recent study on body weight [3] that has been published by Dr Cristina Russo, who is also a co-author of the present study. It concludes that long-term weight control by the use of e-cigarettes enhances the benefits for health of smoking cessation. Other beneficial effects of smoking cessation and/or reduction were investigated through the same method, such as subsequent improvements in asthma outcomes [4].

[1] Farsalinos, K., Cibella, F., Caponnetto, P., Campagna, D., Morjaria, J. B., Battaglia, E., … & Polosa, R. (2016). Effect of continuous smoking reduction and abstinence on blood pressure and heart rate in smokers switching to electronic cigarettes. Internal and Emergency Medicine, 1-10.

[2] Caponnetto, P., Campagna, D., Cibella, F., Morjaria, J. B., Caruso, M., Russo, C., & Polosa, R. (2013). EffiCiency and Safety of an eLectronic cigAreTte (ECLAT) as tobacco cigarettes substitute: a prospective 12-month randomized control design study. PloS one, 8(6), e66317.

[3] Russo, C., Cibella, F., Caponnetto, P., Campagna, D., Maglia, M., Frazzetto, E., … & Polosa, R. (2016). Evaluation of Post Cessation Weight Gain in a 1-Year Randomized Smoking Cessation Trial of Electronic Cigarettes. Scientific reports, 6, 18763.

[4] Polosa, R., Morjaria, J., Caponnetto, P., Caruso, M., Strano, S., Battaglia, E., & Russo, C. (2014). Effect of smoking abstinence and reduction in asthmatic smokers switching to electronic cigarettes: evidence for harm reversal.International journal of environmental research and public health, 11(5), 4965-4977.