A comparative study [1] of vapers ans smokers was carried out by a Greek team of researchers and addresses the issues of aortic stiffness and blood pressure. The researchers from the 1st Cardiology Department of Athens Medical School (Hippokration Hospital) found that vaping and smoking had a similar effects on blood pressure and aortic stiffness. Vaping for a prolonged period (30 min) had an effect comparable to smoking a single cigarette.Vaping for a shorter period had a lighter effect on aortic stiffness.

Vaping for 30 minutes has the same cardiovascular effects as smoking one cigarette

Carotid-femoral pulse-wave velocity (PWV) was used to assess aortic stiffness (Vlachopoulos et al., 2016)

The authors conclude that vaping “exerts an unfavorable effect” on the cardiovascular system by increasing blood pressure and aortic stiffness. They put forward the prognostic role of both patterns for future cardiovascular events to warn about the potential danger of vaping for the youth. They write “our findings have important implications that could aid recommendations regarding the use of EC smoking“.

In contrast, the cardiologist Konstantinos Farsalinos, doubt in the prognostic significance in cardiovascular disease of vascular function measurements after an acute intervention.


Businessman reading a newspaper while drinking coffee
The effect described by the Greek team is the organism’s response to nicotine.

In The Counterfactual, Clive Bates, points out that again, the British newspapers made their headlines, with this new publication. Hence, The Times, The Sun, The Mirror, The Telegraph and The Mail are alarming on the fact that e-cigarettes may be as bad as combusted tobacco for the cardiovascular. Foreign newspapers followed up in Belgium and in France to create a false rumor.

The study highlights the well-described acute effects of nicotine on the cardiovascular system, increase of blood pressure and decrease of aortic elastic properties, in fact the same as for caffein, another stimulant that has been studied by the same author [2], or adrenalin when jogging, for example. It would have been of the responsibility of peer-reviewers to detect this issue and to reject the paper that feeds media headlines and adds nothing more to science.

Hence, linking the e-cigarette to tobacco using the stimulant effects of nicotine is misleading. It becomes dishonest when used in order to feed controversies about youth vaping. The population that the authors tested for e-cigarette effects is irrelevant for studies of the youth. The 24 participants were around 30 years old, almost twice as old as the 10th grade students surveyed by the Monitoring the Future study.

What the study doesn’t tell

What the study doesn’t tell is that combusted tobacco cigarettes are much more dangerous than e-cigarettes because of the products of the complete and incomplete combustion of tobacco and paper. Haemoglobin has much more affinity for carbon monoxide (and to a lesser extent to carbon dioxide) than for oxygen and smoking naturally diminishes oxygen saturation in the organism. An effect than does not occur with the e-cigarette.

This is one of the reasons why e-cigarette, although not completely safe, is considered 95% safer than smoking on the short term and is recommended by physicians for tobacco harm reduction.

The e-cigarette achieves to decouple the nicotine uptake from the pleasure of swallowing vapor. By tuning the strength of nicotine in the e-liquid, the vaper is able, step by step, to adjust the supply of nicotine to his own demand. The absence of other additives than flavors makes the liquid nicotine contained in juices much less addictive than the one delivered by cigarettes, with its cortege of chemicals.

Not completely innocuous, nicotine is not the poison demonized by Australian laws. The long-term use of NRTs has not been found dangerous for the human, for example.

Professor Vlachopoulos plays the game of a government that decided to stifle vaping

Greece is not only very slow at implementing the EU TPD but it also aims at taxing vaping products. Smoking prevalence in the country is one of the highest in 38% in Europe. The same survey also showed that 56% of the Greeks were in favor of the e-cigarette, an idea of the device that is far from being shared by the government that activates the levies that will counteract the development of this industry in the country.

Greece: Taxation of vaping products and so on

[1] Vlachopoulos C., Ioakeimidis N., Abdelrasoul M., Terentes-Printzios D., Georgakopoulos C., Pietri P., Stefanadis C., Tousoulis D., 2016. Electronic Cigarette Smoking Increases Aortic Stiffness and Blood Pressure in Young Smokers Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Volume 67, Issue 23, Pages 2802-2803

[2] Vlachopoulos C, Hirata K, O’Rourke MF2003) Effect of caffeine on aortic elastic properties and wave reflection. J Hypertens 21:563–70

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PhD in science and journalist for the Vaping Post. Specialised in scientific topics.