Study: Vaping increases risk of clotting and damages small arteries

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Nicotine-laden electronic cigarettes increase the risk of blood clots, damage small blood vessels, and may also increase heart rate and blood pressure, according to a new study.

The effects are similar to those caused by traditional cigarettes and raise concerns that long-term vaping may contribute to causing heart attacks or strokes, the Swedish research team warned.

“Our results suggest that the use of electronic cigarettes containing nicotine has similar impacts on the body as smoking traditional cigarettes,” said study author Gustaf Lyytinen, clinician at Helsingborg Hospital and researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

His team presented the results this week at the European Respiratory Society’s virtual annual meeting.

“This effect on blood clots is important because we know that in the long run it can lead to blocked and narrower blood vessels, and of course it puts people at risk for heart attack and stroke.” Lyytinen explained in a company newspaper. Release.

An American expert was not surprised by the new findings.

Nicotine, whether found in traditional or electronic cigarettes, “can cause heart attack and stroke,” said Dr. Len Horovitz, pulmonologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “Another reason why electronic cigarettes should not be considered safer than cigarettes.”

In the new study, Lyytinen’s team conducted experiments with 22 women and men between the ages of 18 and 45 who were occasional but otherwise healthy smokers.

Participants were tested before and after taking 30 puffs of an e-cigarette containing nicotine, and before and after 30 puffs of an e-cigarette without nicotine.

The two tests were done on separate occasions, at least one week apart. Each time, the researchers measured heart rate and blood pressure and took a blood sample before the volunteers used the e-cigarettes, then 15 minutes after use and again 60 minutes after use.

Inhaling e-cigarettes containing nicotine caused immediate short-term changes in the volunteers, including an average 23% increase in blood clots after 15 minutes, with levels returning to normal after an hour, according to the study. .

There was also an increase in the average heart rate after vaping – from 66 to 73 beats per minute – and an increase in average blood pressure from 108 to 117 mmHg, the researchers said.

In another discovery, high-tech visualization using laser technology showed that the volunteers’ small blood vessels temporarily narrowed after vaporizing nicotine.

None of these effects occurred after participants used nicotine-free e-cigarettes, the study authors noted.

This makes sense, as nicotine is known to increase the levels of hormones such as adrenaline, which can increase the chances of blood clots forming, Lyytinen’s group noted.

Patricia Folan heads the Center for Tobacco Control at Northwell Health in Great Neck, NY. She was not involved in the new study, but agreed with Horovitz that vaping is far from harmless.

“Electronic cigarettes in their many forms have been brought to the market without proper regulation,” Folan said. “Their safety and effectiveness in helping smokers quit smoking has not been proven or demonstrated by supporting research.”

Smokers may believe that vaping can help them get rid of the nicotine habit, but instead smokers “often become two users of both vaping products and combustible cigarettes, frequently preventing them from smoking. engage in real stop attempts, ”Folan said.

Although larger studies are needed to confirm the Swedish findings, research like this may help “contradict the influence of advertising, marketing and social media on which patients [who smoke] are often exposed “and which may prompt them to take up vaping,” Folan said.

Since the study was presented at a medical meeting, the results should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The National Institutes of Health in the United States has a higher risk of vaping.

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