Some e-cigarettes may cause this dangerous heart disease

Credit: Unsplash+

As we usher in the new year, many smokers and vapers might be considering quitting or reducing their smoking habits to improve health.

A popular choice is to switch from traditional cigarettes to e-cigarettes, often seen as a less harmful option.

However, a new study from the University of Louisville (UofL) suggests that this switch might not be as safe as previously thought, particularly due to the type of nicotine used in e-cigarettes.

The UofL research focused on understanding how different types of nicotine in e-cigarettes affect the heart. The study, published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research, used animal models to examine the effects of various types and doses of nicotine.

It specifically looked at three types: freebase nicotine (found in older e-cigarettes), nicotine salts (used in Juul and other pod-based e-cigarettes), and racemic freebase nicotine (found in newer synthetic nicotine products).

What the researchers found was concerning. Nicotine salts, as opposed to freebase nicotine, were more likely to cause heart arrhythmias, especially at higher doses. These arrhythmias are irregular heartbeats that can be potentially dangerous.

This finding challenges the common belief that nicotine in e-cigarettes is relatively harmless compared to the additives and combustion products in traditional cigarettes.

As the nicotine concentration increased, so did the risk of cardiac arrhythmias. This effect was most pronounced with nicotine salts.

The study also showed that higher levels of nicotine salts increased activity in the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body’s ‘fight-or-flight’ response.

This is particularly significant because it stimulates the same receptor that beta-blockers – medications used to treat heart arrhythmias – aim to inhibit.

Alex Carll, the assistant professor leading the study, emphasized that their findings dispute the notion that nicotine is harmless.

The type and concentration of nicotine significantly impact its adverse cardiovascular effects, which could have crucial implications for regulation.

This research is part of a broader investigation by the American Heart Association Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center, where UofL is a leading institute.

Previously, the team discovered that even without nicotine, certain e-cigarette aerosols with specific flavors or solvents could cause ventricular arrhythmias and other heart irregularities.

This suggests that the problem might not be just with nicotine but also with the other components in e-cigarettes.

The researchers believe that if their results are mirrored in human studies, regulatory measures such as minimum pH standards or limits on acidic additives in e-liquids could reduce the public health risks associated with vaping.

However, even without regulatory changes, they suggest that choosing e-cigarettes with lower nicotine content or opting for those with freebase nicotine over nicotine salts could potentially reduce health risks.

This study serves as a crucial reminder that while e-cigarettes might be considered a safer alternative to traditional smoking, they are not without their own risks, especially concerning heart health.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies about how Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies that olive oil may help you live longer, and vitamin D could help lower the risk of autoimmune diseases.

The research findings can be found in Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.