A model is showcasing an e-cigarette at a trade fair in Beijing on July 23, 2015. (Xinhua/Luo Xiaoguang)
STOCKHOLM, May 6 (Xinhua) -- A Swedish research team has found that just a few puffs on an electronic cigarette can damage blood vessels, Swedish public television broadcaster SVT reported Saturday.
"This is unknown territory. So far much of what has been done was in animal trials. We have looked at how people react to the use of e-cigarettes," Magnus Lundback, a researcher at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, told SVT.
Lundback and his colleagues saw signs of possible blood vessel damage after just 10 inhalations of e-cigarette vaper. The study was published in the journal Atherosclorisis.
Because they could see signs of blood vessel damage, they decided to study the elasticity of blood vessels after participants took 30 puffs from an e-cigarette.
"We saw that the blood vessels grew less elastic, and increased stiffness in the blood vessels is an independent risk factor for future heart attack and stroke. It appears that it is the nicotine that causes blood vessels to become less elastic," he said.
That just a few inhalations cause damage worries scientists.
"It looks like e-cigarettes are not as benign as the electronic cigarette industry would like people to think. In the studies we conducted exposure was very small but we could still see clear effects. Most likely the effects will be greater on the e-cigarette user," Lundback said, adding that preliminary results from another study indicate that e-cigarettes also cause airways to contract, making it harder to breathe.