Do E-Cigarettes Increase Aortic Stiffness and BP?

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) may increase aortic stiffness and blood pressure (BP) in young adults, according to a research letter published June 6 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Charalambos Vlachopoulos, MD, and colleagues studied 24 smokers aged 30 ± eight years who were free of other cardiovascular risk factors. The participants were examined on four occasions: where they were given tobacco cigarettes over five minutes, e-cigarettes over five minutes, e-cigarettes over 30 minutes, and nothing for 60 minutes.

Results showed that heart rate increased in tobacco and 30-minute e-cigarettes smoking sessions by 4.0 beats per minute after five minutes (p < 0.05) and by 3.1 beats per minute after 30 minutes, respectively, but the effects of smoking e-cigarettes for five minutes was minimal. Both types of cigarettes increased systolic BP and the differences between the two were not significant. Similar changes were observed for diastolic BP. Pulse-wave velocity (PWV) increased immediately, by 0.44 m/s, after the end of tobacco smoking and remained increased throughout the whole period.

The authors further found that smoking e-cigarettes for five minutes induced a 0.19 m/s increase after 15 minutes and smoking them for 30 minutes lead to a 0.36 m/s increase immediately after. Compared with tobacco cigarettes, smoking e-cigarettes for five minutes resulted in a less potent PWV increase throughout the study (F = 4.425, p = 0.005), smoking e-cigarettes for 30 minutes lead to a PWV increase similar to that of tobacco smoking throughout the study period (F = 0.268, p = 0.615). Smoking e-cigarettes for 30 minutes resulted in a “more potent” effect on PWV compared with smoking them for five minutes (F = 3.167, p = 0.030).

“Given the prognostic role of aortic stiffness and increased BP for future cardiovascular events and mortality, as well as the prolonged exposure to [e-cigarette] smoking throughout the day matched with the strong tendency of this form of smoking to spread worldwide, especially within younger ages, our findings have important implications that could aid recommendations regarding the use of [e-cigarette] smoking,” the authors write. 

Clinical Topics: Congenital Heart Disease and Pediatric Cardiology, Prevention, CHD and Pediatrics and Prevention, Hypertension, Smoking

Keywords: Blood Pressure, Blood Pressure Determination, Cardiovascular Diseases, Electronic Cigarettes, Heart Rate, Hypertension, Pulse Wave Analysis, Smoking, Tobacco, Vascular Stiffness, Young Adult

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