New 'heat-not-burn' cigarettes harm blood vessels: study

November 14, 2017 by Dennis Thompson, Healthday Reporter

(HealthDay)—Heat-not-burn "cigarettes" could be as harmful to your blood vessels as traditional smokes, a new animal study suggests.

Tobacco giant Philip Morris is seeking U.S. approval for one of these smoking alternative products, called iQOS. The company claims it's safer than regular cigarettes.

But rats exposed to vapor from the device experienced the same decrease in blood vessel function as those exposed to , said study senior researcher Matthew Springer.

Impaired blood vessel function increases the risk of heart attack or stroke, and can contribute long-term to hardening of the arteries, said Springer, a professor of cardiology with the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.

"I would be frankly amazed if these products were just as harmful as cigarettes in every single way, but less harmful does not equal harmless," Springer said.

The iQOS—pronounced eye-kose—is being test marketed in several countries. It also has been submitted for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval.

The idea is that heating tobacco is safer for users than burning it. Cigarettes burn at temperatures of 1,112 degrees Fahrenheit, creating that contains harmful chemicals. The iQOS heats tobacco sticks to much lower temperatures— up to 662 degrees Fahrenheit—releasing a nicotine aerosol but not actually causing combustion, according to Philip Morris.

The research team decided to test claims that the device is a less harmful way to enjoy tobacco. How? By exposing lab rats to iQOS vapor and measuring their blood vessel function.

Blood vessels are normally able to respond and open wide when the body requires more blood flow, such as at times of great exertion, Springer said.

"Impaired blood vessel function means the blood vessels don't have their natural ability to expand or contract," said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist and medical director of NYU Langone's Center for Women's Health.

The researchers were "surprised" to find that exposure to heat-not-burn vapor reduced blood vessel function on a par with cigarette smoke, Springer said.

Specifically, they found that ten 15-second exposures over five minutes to the vapor reduced blood vessel function by 58 percent, compared with 57 percent for cigarette smoke.

And 10 five-second exposures over five minutes decreased blood vessel function by 60 percent, compared with 62 percent with cigarette smoke.

The circulatory systems of humans and rats have been shown to respond very similarly to tobacco smoke, meaning these findings likely apply to people, Springer said.

People using heat-not-burn tobacco devices still could face the same sort of heart health problems linked to cigarettes, the researchers concluded.

Although there's no smoke, the vapor produced by these devices contains a lot of chemicals that could impair blood vessel health, Springer explained.

"It's not really clear which of these chemicals is causing the problem," Springer said. "I would say nicotine is not the main baddie," he added, noting their research with marijuana and rats has shown a similar effect on vessels.

It might be that breathing in any kind of aerosol containing tiny particles will cause this reaction in , Springer said.

Springer and Goldberg said they hope this new study will be weighed as part of the approval process for the iQOS.

"To me, the most important thing is that any decisions are based on independently validated studies, and any claims of reduced harm are confirmed," Springer said. "They shouldn't be making claims of reduced harm that are not backed up by the facts."

In the meantime, people who want to quit smoking should use proven methods, Goldberg said. Proven methods include smoking cessation counseling and use of nicotine replacement products under supervision.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health and the FDA funded the study. The findings were to be presented Tuesday at the American Heart Association annual meeting, in Anaheim, Calif. Research presented at meetings is usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Explore further: A minute of secondhand marijuana smoke may damage blood vessels

More information: Matthew Springer, Ph.D., professor, cardiology, University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine; Nieca Goldberg, M.D., cardiologist and medical director, NYU Langone Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health, New York City; Nov. 14, 2017, presentation, American Heart Association annual meeting, Annaheim, Calif.

For more on the iQOS, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Related Stories

A minute of secondhand marijuana smoke may damage blood vessels

July 27, 2016
Rats' blood vessels took at least three times longer to recover function after only a minute of breathing secondhand marijuana smoke, compared to recovery after a minute of breathing secondhand tobacco smoke, according to ...

Secondhand marijuana smoke may damage blood vessels as much as tobacco smoke

November 16, 2014
Breathing secondhand marijuana smoke could damage your heart and blood vessels as much as secondhand cigarette smoke, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2014.

Philip Morris looking towards cigarette phase-out

November 30, 2016
Tobacco giant Philip Morris is aiming to stop selling conventional cigarettes and replace them with a less harmful product, its chief executive said Wednesday.

Vaping doubles risk of smoking cigarettes for teens

September 18, 2017
Teenagers who try e-cigarettes double their risk for smoking tobacco cigarettes, according to a new study.

One e-cigarette with nicotine leads to adrenaline changes in nonsmokers' hearts

September 20, 2017
A new UCLA study found that healthy nonsmokers experienced increased adrenaline levels in their heart after one electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) with nicotine but there were no increased adrenaline levels when the study ...

E-cigarettes linked to increased arterial stiffness, blood pressure and heart rate in humans

September 11, 2017
New research has shown for the first time that e-cigarettes with nicotine cause a stiffening of the arteries in humans. This has important implications for the use of e-cigarettes, as arterial stiffness is associated with ...

Recommended for you

Graphic warning labels linked to reduced sugary drink purchases

June 18, 2018
Warning labels that include photos linking sugary drink consumption with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and tooth decay, may reduce purchases of the drinks, according to a new study by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School ...

Greater levels of vitamin D associated with decreasing risk of breast cancer

June 15, 2018
Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine suggest higher levels of vitamin D are associated with decreasing risk of breast cancer. Their epidemiological study is published in the June 15 online ...

Study unmasks scale of patient doctor divide

June 13, 2018
A study has estimated that around three million Britons—or 7.6 % of the country—believe they have experienced a harmful or potentially harmful but preventable problem in primary healthcare.

Lentils significantly reduce blood glucose levels, study reveals

June 13, 2018
Replacing potatoes or rice with pulses can lower your blood glucose levels by more than 20 per cent, according to a first-ever University of Guelph study.

Researcher studies the impact religion has on sleep quality

June 13, 2018
Can a person's religious practices impact their sleep quality? That's the focus of a new study by Christopher Ellison in The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Department of Sociology and his collaborators.

Mediterranean-style eating with lean, unprocessed red meat improves heart disease risk

June 13, 2018
Adopting a Mediterranean-style eating pattern improves heart health, with or without reducing red meat intake, if the red meat consumed is lean and unprocessed, according to a Purdue University nutrition study.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.