The safety of electronic cigarettes is a widely debated issue. The latest research demonstrates that in people who do not smoke, they can alter heart rate variability, which is an indicator of increased adrenaline levels.
Lead study author Dr. Holly Middlekauff, of the University of California, Los Angeles, says, “While e-cigarettes typically deliver fewer carcinogens than are found in the tar of tobacco cigarette smoke, they also usually deliver nicotine.”
“Many believe that the tar – not the nicotine – is what leads to increased cancer and heart attack risks. So, we asked the question, are e-cigarettes safe?”
E-cigarettes and the sympathetic response
Nicotine is not a carcinogen, but it is still a drug. It is a sympathomimetic, which is a compound that mimics the sympathetic nervous system, increasing adreline levels in circulation and raising heart rate and blood pressure. These are physiological changes associated with the “fight or flight” response.
It is this activation of the sympathetic nervous system and the influx of adrenaline that worries some medical researchers. These types of actions are, over the long-term, linked with increased cardiovascular risk.
Cardiac sympathetic nerve activity can be measured noninvasively using a heart monitor to detect…