A new study shows that vaping causes no stress on cells in human coronary arteries, unlike smoking cigarettes. The research examined how cells like those found in the arteries of the heart respond when exposed to cigarette smoke and e-cigarette vapor.
The study was published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, and conducted at the University of Bristol by members of the Medical Research Council Integrative Epidemiology Unit.
Research is critical
“The past few years have seen a rapid growth in the use of e-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine via inhaled aerosol.” said Prof. Marcus Munafo, one of the researchers, in a press release from the university. “It’s thought that e-cigarettes are unlikely to be as harmful as conventional cigarettes, but little data exists to show their relative harms, or the long term effects of e-cigarette use. Therefore, research into these biological effects is critical. Our study looked at the stress response in heart cells in response to cigarette smoke and e-cigarette aerosol.”
The scientists passed extracts made from cigarette smoke and e-cig vapor through a culture of arterial cells, and then studied the gene expression patterns to see if the cells showed stress responses. “We found the cells showed a stress response from the cigarette smoke extract,” said Prof. Munafo, “but not from the electronic cigarette aerosol extract. This result suggests tobacco smokers may be able to reduce immediate tobacco-related harm by switching from conventional cigarettes to e-cigarettes.”
The study concludes, “Our results suggest that the use of e-cigarettes as a substitute for conventional cigarettes is likely to reduce immediate tobacco-related cardiovascular harms….This is in agreement with other studies suggesting a lower potential disease burden for e-cigarette use compared with conventional cigarettes. In the absence of long-term prospective data on the health correlates of e-cigarette use, there is a critical need to valid laboratory models on the relative harms of e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes to inform the ongoing public health debate regarding their use.”