When Young Adults Vape, Blood Pressure, Heart Rate May Spike

THURSDAY, April 30, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Electronic cigarettes that contain nicotine may prompt spikes in blood pressure and heart rate in the young, a new study suggests.

Research has shown that traditional cigarettes trigger increases in blood pressure and heart rate and lower so-called muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) -- a measurement of nerve messages to blood vessels that quickly responds to changes in blood pressure.

However, changes in cardiovascular and neural responses while using e-cigarettes haven't been as widely studied, according to Joshua Gonzalez of Michigan Technological University, in Houghton, Mich., and his colleagues.

Gonzalez's study included a group of healthy, 20-year-old nonsmokers who participated in two separate 10-minute vaping sessions, a month apart. The participants used an e-cigarette containing nicotine in one session, and a nicotine-free e-cigarette in the second session.

The participants' blood pressure was checked before each vaping session and after a 10-minute recovery period from vaping. Heart rate, blood pressure and MSNA were measured throughout the vaping sessions.

When the volunteers used the nicotine e-cigarette, both blood pressure and heart rate increased. During the recovery period, heart rate dropped back to normal, but blood pressure remained high. MSNA activity dropped during vaping with nicotine and stayed lower than normal during recovery, the findings showed.

The cardiovascular changes did not occur when the participants used a nicotine-free e-cigarette, according to the study published in the April issue of The FASEB Journal.

The findings suggest that nicotine e-cigarettes repress the transmission of nerve impulses that regulate blood pressure and heart rate, and that nonsmokers who use nicotine e-cigarettes may put themselves at increased risk for high blood pressure, the researchers concluded.

The study authors noted that e-cigarettes are often marketed to teens and young adults as a healthier alternative to traditional tobacco products.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on the risks of vaping.

SOURCE: The FASEB Journal, news release, April 27, 2020

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