Cardiovascular Effects of Switching From Tobacco Cigarettes to Electronic Cigarettes

Summary of Study

Bottom Line: Vascular health outcomes significantly improved among study participants who switched from tobacco cigarettes (TC) to electronic cigarettes (EC). This positive outcome occurred quickly -- within one month of switching, disproportionately benefited females, and was independent of whether the EC contained nicotine or not. These results suggest switching from TC to EC is a harms reduction measure that could significantly improve public health.

Among this sample of smokers who switched from TC to EC, significant improvements in vascular function were noticed. The results generated several clinically vital findings:

  • There is an early benefit to vascular function from switching from TC to EC. Within the switching time frame of 1 month, chronic smokers demonstrated significant improvements in vascular endothelial function.
  • Otherwise healthy but chronic TC smokers who switched to EC improved their vascular function, approaching values seen in healthy nonsmokers.
  • Vascular stiffness was also significantly reduced within 1 month of switching in smokers of ≤20 pack-years compared within those who smoked >20 pack-years.
  • Switching to EC from TC benefits females more than males. This result is also seen in females who were less compliant (dual-use).
  • Those who complied best with allocated therapy, as indicated by exhaled CO levels, benefitted the most in terms of improvement in endothelial function. The data shows that those who avoided dual-use derived greater vascular benefit from switching.
  • There was no difference observed between the 2 EC arms (with and without nicotine) for this short-term study. Early improvement appears to be unrelated to the abstinence from nicotine but rather from other toxic material produced by combustion in TC.
  • There was a reduction in resting heart rate in the >20 pack-years cohort who switched to EC -- a link that has been previously demonstrated yet not at this short interval after switching.

This study provides new evidence for the rapid improvement of vascular function when switching from TC to EC, suggesting significant EC benefits for smokers and public health.

Read the full study here

Feature Charticle

Change in Mean Vascular Health Among Tobacco Cigarettes and Electronic Cigarettes With and Without Nicotine

Journal of the American College of Cardiology

Findings:

  • There is an early benefit to vascular function from switching from tobacco cigarettes (TC) to electronic cigarettes (EC), with significant improvements demonstrated after one month to the point where switchers improved lung function to values approaching those seen in healthy nonsmokers. 
  • There was no difference observed between the 2 EC arms (with and without nicotine) for this short-term study. Early improvement appears to be unrelated to the abstinence from nicotine but rather from other toxic material produced by combustion in TC.
  • This study provides new evidence for the rapid improvement of vascular function when switching from TC to EC, suggesting significant EC benefits for smokers and public health. 

Read the full study here.