Smoking e-cigarettes can cause similar harm to tobacco smoke. Furthermore, the risk of cardiovascular disease is greater for who smokes both types. This is demonstrated by research from the University of California, San Francisco, published in the American Heart Association’s journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology (ATVB).
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The researchers conducted two studies, one in mice and one in humans. In the first, they measured flow-mediated arterial dilation (FMD), i.e. the ability of blood vessels to widen, before and after exposure to smoke from four types of traditional cigarettes: conventional nicotine, reduced nicotine, conventional nicotine with added menthol. and nicotine reduction with the addition of menthol. All four caused the same damage.
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In another experiment, the guinea pigs were exposed to gases in both the smoke and the aerosol of e-cigarettes and tried to figure out if there were specific components that were causing harm. They found that damage to blood vessels does not result from specific components, but from irritation of the airways which triggers biological signals in the valgus nerve. This irritation occurs both with vaporizers and with traditional smoke.
«We have been surprised to discover that there was not a single component that could be removed to stop the damaging effect of smoke or vapors on blood vessels. As long as there is an irritant in the airways, the function of the blood vessels can be impaired, ”said the doctor Matthew L. Springerprofessor of medicine and cardiology at the University of California.
Young people start smoking with the electronic cigarette
Another risk of the electronic cigarette is that attracts young people and prolongs harmful behaviors even in those who would like to quit. In the United States, over 2.55 million middle school or high school students have used an e-cigarette device. 10% of American adults use vaporizers (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data).
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Vaping or cigarette? Greater risk for both smokers
In the human study, blood samples from smokers (both electronic and non-electronic) showed a decreased production of nitric oxide by endothelial cells compared to those of non-smokers. Also, who smoked electronic cigarettes had more “permeable” blood vessels (with greater risk of inflammatory responses, cell damage and coronary heart disease).
The study concluded that both e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes cause harm. But damage different aspects: because of this the mix of the two types of smoke it could be even more risky.
Dr. Springer said: “These results suggest that using the two products together, as many people do, could increase health risks compared to individual use … We didn’t expect to see this.”