Electronic cigs, an increasingly popular new option among smokers trying to quit, do not appear to pose a threat to the heart, according to results of a clinical research presented on Saturday. Greek scientists declared that electronic cigarettes – battery-powered metal tubes that transform liquid laced with nicotine into vapor – had no adverse effects on cardiac function in their small trial. “Electronic cigarettes are not a healthy habit but they are a safer smoking alternative to tobacco smoking,” Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos from the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens told the annual conference of the European Society of Cardiology.
“Considering the extreme hazards linked with cigarettes smoking, currently available data supposed that electronic cigarettes are less harmful and substituting tobacco with electronic cigs may be favorable to health.”
Farsalinos and his team examined the heart function of 20 young smokers before and after smoking one cigarette against that of 22 e-cigarette users before and after using the device for seven minutes.
While the cigarette smokers suffered serious heart dysfunction, including raised blood pressure and heart rate, those using electronic cigs had only a slight increase in pressure.
The Greek clinical study was the first in the world to look at the cardiac effects of electronic cigarettes. Another small research, also in Greece, reported earlier this year the devices had little influence on lung function.
Farsalinos acknowledged bigger investigations were still needed to examine the possible long-term effects of e-cigs, while other doctors attending the medical meeting in Munich were very cautious about giving them a clean ordinance of health just yet.
“Evidently, the electronic cigarette has a big advantage of not having the thousands of other chemicals, besides nicotine, that a cigarette has,” argued Dr. Russell Luepker of the University of Minnesota.