Cardiovascular effects of electronic cigarettes

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Abstract

| Cardiovascular safety is an important consideration in the debate on the benefits versus the risks of electronic cigarette (EC) use. EC emissions that might have adverse effects on cardiovascular health include nicotine, oxidants, aldehydes, particulates, and flavourants. To date, most of the cardiovascular effects of ECs demonstrated in humans are consistent with the known effects of nicotine. Pharmacological and toxicological studies support the biological plausibility that nicotine contributes to acute cardiovascular events and accelerated atherogenesis. However, epidemiological studies assessing Swedish smokeless tobacco, which exposes users to nicotine without combustion products, generally have not found an increased risk of myocardial infarction or stroke among users, but suggest that nicotine might contribute to acute cardiovascular events, especially in those with underlying coronary heart disease. The effects of aldehydes, particulates, and flavourants derived from ECs on cardiovascular health have not been determined. Although ECs might pose some cardiovascular risk to users, particularly those with existing cardiovascular disease, the risk is thought to be less than that of cigarette smoking based on qualitative and quantitative comparisons of EC aerosol versus cigarette smoke constituents. The adoption of ECs rather than cigarette smoking might, therefore, result in an overall benefit for public health.

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