Claim: One e-cigarette may lead to adrenaline changes in nonsmokers’ hearts

Not much stupider than the effort to scare people about vaping.

Uh… everyone knows nicotine stimulates the discharge of adrenaline. It’s one reason smokers smoke. Duh. But e-cigs expose smokers to less tar and so can be safer*

* – Your results will depend on how much tobacco you smoke(d), your other relevant lifestyle and genetic factors and whether your e-cigarette malfunctions.

The abstract and media release are below.


One e-cigarette may lead to adrenaline changes in nonsmokers’ hearts
Journal of the American Heart Association Report


DALLAS, Sept. 20, 2017 — Healthy nonsmokers may experience increased adrenaline levels in their heart after one electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) with nicotine, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Nerve endings in the sympathetic nervous system release both adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenalin (norepinephrine), both of which play a role in the fight or flight response. Perpetually increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system contributes to increased cardiac risk.

“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,” said Holly R. Middlekauff, M.D., senior study author and professor of medicine (cardiology) and physiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “So, we asked the question, are e-cigarettes safe?”

Middlekauff and her team used a technique called “heart rate variability” obtained from a prolonged, non-invasive heart rhythm recording. Heart rate variability is calculated from the degree of variability in the time between heart beats. This variability may be indicative of the amount of adrenaline on the heart.

Prior studies have used a heart rate variability test to link increased adrenaline activity in the heart with increased cardiac risk. People with known heart disease and people without known heart disease who have this pattern of high adrenaline levels in the heart have increased risk of death, Middlekauff said.

In what Middlekauff said is the first study to separate the nicotine from the non-nicotine components when looking at the heart impact of e-cigarettes on humans, researchers studied 33 healthy adults who were not current e-cigarette or tobacco cigarette smokers. On different days, each participant used an e-cigarette with nicotine, an e-cigarette without nicotine or a sham device. Researchers measured cardiac adrenaline activity by assessing heart rate variability, and oxidative stress in blood samples by measuring the enzyme plasma paraoxonase (PON1).

They found:

Exposure to e-cigarettes with nicotine, but not e-cigarettes without nicotine, led to increased adrenaline levels to the heart, as indicated by abnormal heart rate variability.
Oxidative stress, which increases risks for atherosclerosis and heart attack, showed no changes after exposure to e-cigarettes with and without nicotine. The number of markers they studied for oxidative stress were minimal, however and more studies are warranted, according to Middlekauff.
“While it’s reassuring that the non-nicotine components do not have an obvious effect on adrenaline levels to the heart, these findings challenge the concept that inhaled nicotine is benign, or safe. Our study showed that acute electronic cigarette use with nicotine increases cardiac adrenaline levels. And it’s in the same pattern that is associated with increased cardiac risk in patients who have known cardiac disease, and even in patients without known cardiac disease,” Middlekauff said. “I think that just seeing this pattern at all is very concerning and it would hopefully discourage nonsmokers from taking up electronic cigarettes.”

The American Heart Association believes that e-cigarettes, like all tobacco products, pose risk. The association supports FDA regulation of e-cigarettes that address marketing, youth access, characterizing flavors, free sampling, labeling, quality control over manufacturing and product standards for contaminants and other ingredients. The association also supports including e-cigarettes in comprehensive smoke-free air laws, taxation and comprehensive cessation programs.

Future studies should look more closely at oxidative stress and e-cigarette use, using a broader number of cardiac markers, in a larger population of people, researchers said.


Co-authors are Roya S. Moheimani, B.S.; May Bhetraratana, M.H.S.; Kacey M. Peters, B.S.; Benjamin K. Yang; Fen Yin, Ph.D.; Jeffrey Gornbein, Dr.PH; and Jesus A. Araujo, M.D., Ph.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program; American Heart Association, Western States Affiliate; National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health; Irma and Norman Switzer Dean’s Leadership in Health and Science Scholarship; and UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute funded the study.

7 thoughts on “Claim: One e-cigarette may lead to adrenaline changes in nonsmokers’ hearts”

  1. Yes! There is a huge campaign by big pharma and big tobacco against the vaping community. Even big banks are behind it. I recently had my credit card processor reject my account because we sell “electronic cigarettes.” It’s ridiculous right now but we have to keep informing people about the reality of vaping from the grass roots level.

  2. 1. I purposefully leave extended gaps in my ingestion of alcohol so that when I do ingest alcohol there is a chance of finding that pleasant place where things aren’t so serious. If I try to find that pleasant place two days in a row, it doesn’t work for me. Two fridays in a row and it doesn’t work.

    2. Are we going to band pretty women? If a pretty woman talks to me with intent, I have changes in my heart rhythm. I apologize to pretty boys. I am sorry you do not have the same effect on me. I am truly sorry if you feel that that somehow means I treat you differently.


  3. Sometimes when I’m following a beautiful woman down the street my adrenaline level changes I think it’s for the better…….. I’m not a scientist so I can’t Analyze This but I do like the way it feels.

  4. Hey! I can finally make some money outta all this! I’ll get research grant from the Committee For Vapor Free Kidlings and show that:

    “Healthy nonsmokers may experience increased adrenaline levels in their heart after one” puff of steam from a teakettle after they’ve been told the steam has a deadly poison in it!

    After that I’ll start a campaign to teach the chillun that the same deadly steam is being inhaled by them if they take hot showers.

    Eventually if they get TOO desperately grubby and try to cheat by taking COLD showers, I’ll simply inform them (truthfully) that their water system probably allows up to 5 million asbestos fibers per liter and that the little water droplets they see dancing around in sunshine through the bathroom window or skylight are jes’ chock-full of those deadly fibers wending their way down into their lungs!

    – MJM, the grungy hippie seeking to expand The Holy Cult Of Eternal Grungyness!

  5. Of course it poses risk. So does everything you eat, drink, inhale, or do in life. As far as I know, NO ONE who vapes or uses an e-cigarette wishes to transition to regular cigarettes.

    And the kicker from the paper’s conclusion is in the last sentence: “Evidence of oxidative stress … was not uncovered following acute e-cigarette exposure.”

    Translation: e-cigarettes are not anywhere as toxic or risky as are regular cigarettes.

    To the FDA I say this: Game. Set. Match.

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