Are E-Cigs Bad For Your Heart?

Scientists are still trying to determine the health effects of e-cigarettes, and until now, they have focused their attention on the addictive properties of nicotine and the potentially cancer-causing agents in the vapors the devices emit. But in a small new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers document another growing health concern of e-cigs: that they may have negative effects on the heart. Scientists led by Dr. Holly Middlekauff, professor of medicine at University of California Los Angeles, and her colleagues found that devices that contain nicotine can boost adrenaline levels in the heart—essentially putting the heart under stress, which is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Middlekauff studied 33 healthy people who were not current tobacco or e-cigarette smokers and asked them to come to the lab on three different days. At each visit, they smoked a different device: a placebo with no active ingredients, an e-cig with nicotine or an e-cig without nicotine. (While e-cigs do not burn tobacco, most do contain nicotine.) For years, doctors believed that nicotine, while addictive, was not the component in cigarettes that posed the biggest health risk. Instead, they thought the tar that was more concerning. By comparing nicotine and non-nicotine e-cigs, Middlekauff wanted to determine whether the same was true for nicotine and the heart. MORE: Here’s Why Bacteria Like E-Cigs She found that only the nicotine e...
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