E-Cigarettes, Or ‘Electronic Cigarettes,’ Pose No Heart Threat, European Study Finds

E-cigarettes (or “electronic cigarettes,” if you’re feeling fancy) are safe for your heart, a new study out of Greece has indicated.

E-cigarettes are a smoking alternative that have grown in popularity since they were introduced less than a decade ago, and former smokers (and less frequent smokers) who rely on the devices for a smoke free nicotine fix say that electronic cigarettes are a godsend, offering many of the sensations of smoking without tobacco.

Indeed, e-cigarettes are so like smoking — so satisfyingly similar — you kind of feel like there has to be a catch. And there is, namely that health professionals still treat you like a smoker if you’re an e-cigarette user, expressing skepticism that something so like smoking can be safer and less damaging as the world’s most hated habit.

But the Greek study may help assuage the fears of doctors who have seen patients successfully replace a decades-long smoking habit with that of using an e-cigarette. The small study examined the cardiovascular effects on 22 young, healthy e-cigarette users versus 20 young traditional tobacco users.

What they found was that, as expected, regular smokers were measured to have experienced “significant heart dysfunction, including raised blood pressure and heart rate. E-cigarette users, in contrast, did not see any adverse cardiovascular effects.

Per Reuters, Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos of the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens told the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology that e-cigarettes are indeed a far better choice for nicotine users than cigarettes based on the findings:

“Electronic cigarettes are not a healthy habit but they are a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes… Considering the extreme hazards associated with cigarette smoking, currently available data suggest that electronic cigarettes are far less harmful and substituting tobacco with electronic cigarettes may be beneficial to health.”

Medical experts are still taking a cautious approach to e-cigarettes as the data filters in about long-term effects. But Dr. Russell Luepker of the University of Minnesota reluctantly admits that electronic cigarettes are sure to lack a lot of the harmful ingredients of regular cigarettes, if you must puff on something:

“Obviously, the e-cigarette has the advantage of not having the thousands of other chemicals, besides nicotine, that a real cigarette has… I don’t think it’s conclusive but there’s no doubt if you expose someone to fewer bioactive chemical compounds there is going to be less effect.”

Have you switched to an e-cigarette after smoking regularly and noticed an improvement in health?