E-cigarettes containing nicotine could increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, researchers have found.
A study discovered that vaping devices containing the stimulant could cause a stiffening of the arteries, as well as an increased heart rate and blood pressure.
Scientists in Stockholm, Sweden, recruited 15 healthy volunteers to take part in the experiment, none of whom had used e-cigarettes before.
The tests found in the 30 minutes after smoking the e-cigarettes containing nicotine, there was a significant increase in blood pressure, heart rate and arterial stiffness. There was no such effect in the volunteers who smoked the e-cigarettes without nicotine.
Dr Magnus Lundback, of the Danderyd University Hospital, Karolinska Institute, said: “The number of e-cigarette users has increased dramatically in the last few years. E-cigarettes are regarded by the general public as almost harmless.
“The e-cigarette industry markets their product as a way to reduce harm and to help people to stop smoking tobacco cigarettes. However, the safety of e-cigarettes is debated, and a growing body of evidence is suggesting several adverse health effects.
“The results are preliminary, but in this study we found there was a significant increase in heart rate and blood pressure in the volunteers who were exposed to e-cigarettes containing nicotine. Arterial stiffness increased around three-fold in those who were exposed to nicotine containing e-cigarettes compared to the nicotine-free group.”
While the effects seen in the tests were temporary, Dr Lundback said that chronic exposure to e-cigarettes with nicotine could cause permanent effects on arterial stiffness in the long term.