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E-Cigarette use Linked to Higher Risks of Developing Atherosclerosis, Heart Diseases: Study

More evidence against e-cigarettes suggests using the device could be more harmful than good.

E-cigarette was originally invented in order to aid smoking cessation. It was created by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik in order to quit the habit which killed his father, The Guardian reports.

According to a release published on EurekAlert, Dr. Daniel J. Conklin of University of Louisville’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine will be discussing his research regarding what he found about the effect of e-cigarettes on the body.

Conklin will discuss how atherosclerosis increases with constant e-cigarette use on the “New and Emerging Tobacco Products: Biomarkers of Exposure and Injury” during a three-member panel on Friday.

Atherosclerosis is a condition where the arteries of the body become narrow and hardened because of plaque-build up. This disables oxygen-rich blood to pass normally to critical organs of the body including the heart. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, atherosclerosis can lead to heart attack, stroke, and even death.

“Currently, we do not know whether e-cigarettes are harmful,” said Conklin. “They do not generate smoke as do conventional cigarettes but they do generate an aerosol – the vapor – that alters indoor air quality and contains toxic aldehydes. We investigated the direct effects of these toxins on cardiovascular disease in the laboratory.”

For their study, Conklin and colleagues tested the effects of various levels of exposure to e-cigarettes, tobacco smoke, nicotine, and smokeless tobacco or acrolein on mice. They found that tobacco smoke increased atherosclerosis on mice while e-cigarette aerosol also increased the condition. Conklin was surprised how nicotine or acrolein on their own increased atherosclerosis in the mice models. The findings suggest that most tobacco products may have heart-disease-causing potential.

Another study that will be presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting this month states that e-cigarettes can cause the body’s respiratory system to be impaired as it affected its mucosal cells, Medical Xpress reports.

“The digestive systems and respiratory systems are very different,” Dr. Ilona Jaspers of the University of North Carolina said. “Our stomachs are full of acids and enzymes that break down food and deal with chemicals; this environment is very different than our respiratory systems. We simply don’t know what effects, if any, e-cigarettes have on our lungs.”

Dr. Jaspers and colleagues found that certain e-cigarette flavorings have certain effects as well. Cinnamon-flavored e-liquids and cinnamaldehyde are some of the flavors they tested.

“We found that cinnamaldehyde e-liquids have a significant negative effect on epithelial cell physiology,” the researcher said. “The chemicals compromise the immune function of key respiratory immune cells, such as macrophages, natural killer cells, and neutrophils.”

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