Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Kicking the cigarette habit is extremely important in keeping yourself healthy, and a number of cessation methods can help you stop lighting up that next cancer stick. Although some concerns have arisen over the use of one popular method, the e-cigarette, new research suggests the concerns are unwarranted.
Researchers from the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens, Greece have found that electronic cigarettes, electronic tubes that simulate the effect of smoking by producing nicotine vapor, do not pose any adverse effects on the heart. The findings add to the evidence of the health benefits involved in switching from tobacco to other smokeless alternatives.
The results of the study were presented at the European Society of Cardiology annual meeting in Munich on Saturday, August 25th.
“Electronic cigarettes are not a healthy habit, but they are a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes,” Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos said at the conference. “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.”
For the study, Farsalinos and colleagues examined heart function in 20 young smokers before and after smoking one tobacco cigarette against that of 22 e-cigarette users before and after using the device for seven minutes.
While the tobacco smokers suffered significant heart dysfunction, including raised blood pressure and heart rate, those using the e-cigarettes had only a slight elevation in pressure and no increased heart rate.
This was the first study in the world to take a look at the cardiac effects of e-cigarettes. Previous studies found that the electronic devices would have to be smoked daily for four to 12 months to achieve the levels of the carcinogen nitrosamines that are present in just one cigarette.
E-cigarettes are one of the few smoking cessation methods that provide users with a chemical need for nicotine and reproduce the psychological effect of holding and smoking a cigarette, according to the researchers.
Although nicotine is present in the devices´ vapor, it is absorbed by the blood at a far slower rate than tobacco smoke, accounting for lower levels of toxicity, said Farsalinos. No traces of nitrosamine were found in the e-cigarettes in the study, he said.
Farsalinos acknowledged that larger studies were needed to examine the possible long-term effects of e-cigarettes, while other doctors attending the conference were cautious about giving the smoking alternative a clean bill of health.
“Obviously, the e-cigarette has the advantage of not having the thousands of other chemicals, besides nicotine, that a real cigarette has,” Reuters cited Dr. Russell Luepker of the University of Minnesota as saying. “I don’t think it’s conclusive but there’s no doubt if you expose someone to fewer bioactive chemical compounds there is going to be less effect.”
About 2.5 million people in the U.S. use e-cigarettes, according to an estimate by the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association. Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has no stance against the testing and production of e-cigarettes, which were first produced in China in 2003.