The health effects of "combustible" tobacco products including traditional cigarettes and hookah are well-established, but the potential dangers of e-cigarettes have not yet been extensively studied. E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid -- including tobacco-derived nicotine, flavoring and other additives -- and produce an aerosol that is inhaled.
Nine chemical flavorings -- menthol (mint), acetylpyridine (burnt flavor), vanillin (vanilla), cinnamaldehyde (cinnamon), eugenol (clove), diacetyl (butter), dimethylpyrazine (strawberry), isoamyl acetate (banana) and eucalyptol (spicy cooling) -- which are widely used in e-cigarettes, hookah, little cigars and cigarillos were tested for their short-term effects on endothelial cells, the cells which line the blood vessels and the inside of the heart.
Researchers - Flavors - Cells - Laboratory - Levels
Researchers found all nine flavors were dangerous to cells in the laboratory at the highest levels tested and all the flavorings impaired nitric oxide production in endothelial cells in culture (outside of the body). Several of the flavorings -- menthol, clove, vanillin, cinnamon and burnt flavoring -- resulted in higher levels of an inflammatory marker and lower levels of nitric oxide, a molecule that inhibits inflammation and clotting, and regulates vessels' ability to widen in response to greater blood flow.
"Increased inflammation and a loss of nitric oxide are some of the first changes to occur leading up to cardiovascular disease and events like heart attacks and stroke, so they are considered early predictors of heart disease," said lead study author Jessica L. Fetterman, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts. "Our findings suggest that these flavoring additives may have serious health consequences."
Cells - Volunteers - Non-smokers/non-e-cigarette - Users - Non-menthol
Endothelial cells were collected from volunteers (nine non-smokers/non-e-cigarette users; six non-menthol and six menthol cigarette smokers) and tested in the lab. Researchers found that both groups of smokers had a similar deficit in nitric oxide production when stimulated by a chemical called A23187. Nonsmokers' cells...
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