What does one e-cigarette do to a nonsmokers’ heart?

On Thursday, November 16, the country celebrated The Great American Smokeout.  The day began in the 1970’s as a way to encourage smokers to give up tobacco products for just one day.  According to the American Cancer Society, only 15% of Americans smoke cigarettes today.  That’s down from 42% in 1965 (1). Cigarette use is even lower among Penn State students. In the 2016 National College Health Assessment, 9.4% of students reported using cigarettes in the last 30 days.  Of those, only 1.5% used cigarettes every day for the last month (2).

E-cigarette use is even lower.  Only 3.8% of students reported using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days (2).  That’s somewhat good news because a recent study by Dr. Holly Middlekauff and colleagues showed that when a non-smoker is exposed to just one e-cigarette they experience “higher levels of adrenaline in the heart, which can lead to an increased heart rate and high blood pressure” (3,4).  “The findings challenge the concept that inhaled nicotine is benign, or safe” said Middlekauff (3).

Middlekauff’s study disputes the notion that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to cigarettes.

If you are interested in quitting smoking, Penn State offers a FREE smoking cessation services. Click here for more information about how you can get help from Health Promotion and Wellness.

  1. American Cancer Society, cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/great-american-smokeout.html
  2. Penn State Student Health Assessment, Spring 2016 https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/sites.psu.edu/dist/b/4423/files/2016/07/Accessible-version-PSU-Annual-Report-2016.pdf
  3. http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/one-e-cigarette-with-nicotine-leads-to-adrenaline-changes-in-nonsmokers-hearts
  4. Sympathomimetic Effects of Acute E‐Cigarette Use: Role of Nicotine and Non‐Nicotine Constituents. Roya S. Moheimani, May Bhetraratana, Kacey M. Peters, Benjamin K. Yang, Fen Yin, Jeffrey Gornbein, Jesus A. Araujo, Holly R. Middlekauff

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