Called, “Effects of E‐cigarettes and vaping devices on cardiac and pulmonary physiology,” the review reported that acute exposure to e‐cigarette aerosols seemed to lead to increased blood pressure and heart rate in human subjects. In animal models, the same exposure led to increased arterial stiffness, vascular endothelial changes, increased angiogenesis, cardiorenal fibrosis and increased atherosclerotic plaque formation.
These findings led the review authors to make the erroneous claim that there is no evidence indicating that e-cigarettes are actually safer than their combustible counterparts. “E‐cigarettes have been advertised as a healthy alternative to cigarette smoking, and users are under the impression that vaping of e‐cigarettes is harmless, but these claims that e‐cigarettes are safer and healthier are not based on evidence.”
Previous studies indicated heart health improvement when smokers switched to vaping
“By switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes we found an average percentage point improvement of 1.5 within just one month,” said professor of cardiovascular medicine and therapeutics at Britain’s Dundee University, Jacob George, in a briefing about the study. “And to put that into context, each percentage point improvement in vascular function results in a 13% reduction in cardiovascular event rates, such as heart attack.”
For the Dundee study, which took two years to complete and was funded by the British Heart Foundation charity, researchers recruited 114 long-term cigarette smokers who had smoked at least 15 cigarettes a day for at least two years. The participants were placed into one of three groups for a month: the first group carried on smoking tobacco cigarettes, the second switched to e-cigarettes with nicotine, and the third switched to e-cigarettes without nicotine. The participants underwent vascular testing before and after the month.
The results indicated that whether the e-cigarettes used contained nicotine or not, the endothelial function (a measure of how easily blood flows around the body) in those who switched from smoking, was significantly improved.
The relative safety of vaping should be considered in the right context
Professor Jacob George emphasized the fact that their study looked at the effects of vaping when compared to the ones of smoking, and therefore the findings should be considered in that context. “It is crucial to emphasize that e-cigarettes are not safe, just less harmful than tobacco cigarettes when it comes to vascular health,” George said. “They should not be seen as harmless devices for non-smokers or young people to try.”