Smoking analog cigarettes is understood to be a cardiovascular risk factor, but does that same risk exist when vaping? Early studies on nicotine absorption show that there is significantly less nicotine absorbed in vaping, so one could surmise that there would also be a reduced risk for heart issues. Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, a Research fellow at Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, conducted research on cultured myocardial cells (cardiac muscle cells) to evaluate the potential damage of e-liquids compared to tobacco cigarette smoke.
The Nicotine Study
In running the experiment, smoke or vapor is bubbled through a cell culture to create an extract. This is the standard way of creating an extract from tobacco smoke. Researchers used the same apparatus for testing the vapor from an e-liquid. The extracts were then added to the cultured myocardial cells. After the cells were exposed to either the smoke or the vapor, they were put into an incubator for 24 hours. The cells were then measured to determine their viability by measuring the amount of cells that survived compared to a control.
First, researchers observed that bubbling tobacco smoke through the cell culture medium caused discoloration and left particulates after just one cigarette. Only 3% of the cells exposed to 50% of the concentrated smoke extract survived after the 24-hour incubation. More than 80% of the cells exposed to the vapor concentrate survived. It was clear from this study that vapors from e-cigarettes are considerably less damaging to heart cells than regular tobacco smoke.