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Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2019 Jun 21;15:159-174. doi: 10.2147/VHRM.S175970. eCollection 2019.

Electronic cigarettes and cardiovascular health: what do we know so far?

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Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


While tobacco cigarette (TC) smoking has continued to drop to all-time lows, the use of electronic cigarettes (ECs), introduced in the US in 2007, has been rising dramatically, especially among youth. In EC emissions, nicotine is the major biologically active element, while levels of carcinogens and harmful combustion products that typify TC smoke are very low or even undetectable. TCs cause cardiovascular harm by activation of inflammatory pathways and oxidative damage, leading to atherogenesis and thrombosis, as well as through sympathetic activation triggering ischemia and arrhythmia. While ECs are generally believed to be safer than TCs, there remain many uncertainties regarding the overall cardiovascular health effects of EC usage. In this review, we discuss the various components of EC smoke and review the potential mechanisms of cardiovascular injury caused by EC use. We also discuss the controversy regarding the increasing epidemic of youth EC use weighed against the use of ECs as a smoking-cessation aid.


cardiovascular disease; cigarette smoking; electronic cigarettes; nicotine

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