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New study suggests that e-cigarettes increase risk of cardiac arrest

The great debate regarding the safety or otherwise of e-cigarettes continues to rumble on with each side claiming the virtues, or otherwise concerning the health risk associated with smoking the very popular, electronic cigarettes.

Earlier studies suggest that using e- cigarettes is safer than cigarettes and as recently February this year, a study funded by Cancer research UK by the University of London concluded in a report that that smokers who switched from real to e-cigarettes had far fewer toxins and cancer-causing substances in their bodies than continual smokers.

However, contradicting this, a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, stated that using e-cigarettes is not safe, the nicotine which is delivered by the e-cigarette can lead to an increased risk in cardiac arrest and possibly cardiac death. The reasons cited are that as nicotine enters the body, the brain releases adrenaline and this is known to be an important hormone that controls the heart rate and blood pressure. In turn when released, it causes the heart to beat faster in order to provide more energy.

It is believed that continued exposure to nicotine can mean that the heart can be in a state of an increased rate; this according to the researchers can lead to abnormal heart rate variability, which is detrimental putting extra stress on the heart and in turn leading to the possibility of a heart attack.

The research was carried out by Holly Middlekauff and fellow researchers at David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. Using 33 healthy non-vapers and non-smokers, the participants were asked to use three different e-cigarettes on three separate days, nicotine on one day, and then they used an e-cigarette which was nicotine free, finally on the last day an empty e-cigarette.

What the results showed was that there was a 10% increase in heart rate in the participants who puffed on a nicotine-delivering e-cigarette.  Holly Middlekauf did concede however, that in spite of her conclusions, the e-cigarette is better than smoking tobacco cigarettes because it contains fewer carcinogens.

Whatever the studies for and against show, the general consensus from the medical profession is that using e-cigarettes is safer than real ones and they are also one of the best ways to quit smoking completely.

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