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E-cigarettes may increase risk of cardiac issues: Study

Researchers have found more evidence that electronic cigarettes can have negative health effects.

By Amy Wallace
An electronic cigarettes package is seen in Washington, D.C. on April 24, 2014. Researchers have found more evidence that electronic cigarettes are not as harmless as previously thought. UPI/John Angelillo
An electronic cigarettes package is seen in Washington, D.C. on April 24, 2014. Researchers have found more evidence that electronic cigarettes are not as harmless as previously thought. UPI/John Angelillo | License Photo

Feb. 1 (UPI) -- A new study from the European Society of Cardiology has found that use of electronic cigarettes can increase risk of long-term cardiac issues.

E-cigarette use has increased over the years but the impacts smoking e-cigarettes has on health have not been fully established.

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Researchers studied 23 e-cigarette users and 19 non-users ages 21 to 45 and found that e-cigarette users were more likely to have increased cardiac sympathetic activity, meaning increased adrenaline levels in the heart, and increased oxidative stress.

The findings "have critical implications for the long-term cardiac risks associated with habitual e-cigarette use and mandate a re-examination of aerosolized nicotine and its metabolites," according to researchers.

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"Nicotine stimulates the central nervous system, so it's not at all surprising that people continuously taking nicotine get this sympathetic stimulation," Professor Joep Perk of the European Society of Cardiology cardiovascular spokesperson, said in a press release. "This then might lead to irregular heartbeat and raised blood pressure, and probably has long-term deleterious effects on the blood vessel walls."

Perk said that more study needs to be done on e-cigarettes and their impact on health.

"It is too large a step to say that these negative effects are proof that people are going to die early because they used e-cigarettes," Perk said. "To prove this you have to put people on e-cigarettes for 10 to 15 years and see how many die early -- a study that will not be done for ethical reasons. The weakness of all studies in this field is that they are observational and small, and they look at indicators of vascular wall damage rather than incidence of cardiovascular disease or death."

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The study was published in JAMA Cardiology.

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