Electronic Cigarettes May Not Harm Your Heart but Could Still Damage Your Lungs, Studies Reveal

By Lisa Franchi on September 03, 2012

For many smokers who are trying so hard to quit but couldn’t, electronic cigarettes could be the answer. This technology has promised a better alternative for tobacco. However, there’s still an ongoing debate regarding their safety. New study suggests that unlike tobacco, electronic fags do not seem to affect the heart. However, another research says it is still not good for the lungs.

In 2003, electronic cigarettes hit the shelves and they were willingly accepted by millions of smokers around the world. These battery-powered devices work by converting a liquid form of nicotine into vapour, mimicking the taste, smoke and feel of real tobacco. But as compared to traditional cigarettes, they do not contain thousands of chemicals. The only known ingredient of electronic cigarettes is nicotine but it is believed that some brands have formaldehyde and some carcinogenic substances. Currently, there is no law in the UK that regulates the use of electronic cigarettes.

E-cigarettes and Heart Function

A group of researchers from the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Athens, Greece was the first to assess the effects of electronic cigarettes to the heart.  The compared the heart function of 22 e-cigarette smokers with 20 regular smokers before and after smoking. They observed that those who smoked real tobacco had worse heart function while those who light up using battery-geared cigarettes only experienced a slight raise in blood pressure.

Despite the positive findings, the study is too small to establish firm conclusions. The researchers suggest that more studies are necessary to support their claim. However, they are pretty sure of one thing – electronic cigarettes are far better than real tobacco.

E-cigarettes and Lung Function

Even though electronic cigarettes provide a better alternative to smoking, scientists from the University of Athens in Greece found that they’re still not good for the lungs. Their study involved 24 smokers (11 of them had COPD or asthma and 13 had normal lung function) and 8 non-smokers. All of the participants were asked to smoke using electronic fags for 10 minutes. Results showed that all of them had an increase in airway resistance within the same span of time. In smokers with normal lung function, the increase range from 176% to 220%. For those who had asthma or COPD, the researchers found no immediate airway resistance.

According to Professor Christina Gratziou, one of the study authors, there’s still lack of evidence to support the claim that electronic cigarettes are less harmful and their research would help understand how such products could be potentially harmful. She also stressed the need for more studies to identify the long-term effects of electronic cigarettes.

In a larger view, electronic cigarettes don’t actually help smokers quit. They simply replace tobacco with something that has a lower dose of nicotine and other chemicals. The nicotine dependence is still present. In most cases, quitting smoking only takes some willpower and determination. There are natural approaches that were proven to help smokers quit for good. These include hypnotherapy, counselling or psychotherapy, exercise, and proper diet.

 

Source of this article:

Experts warn that e-cigarettes can damage the lungs

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