Cardiovascular Ageing

Posted 22nd August 2017 by Dave Cross
A new study (that hasn’t been released for peer-review) makes the claim that “a single exposure to electronic cigarette vapour” may be detrimental to cardiovascular function, by accelerates the effects of ageing. The findings were, according to the American Physiological Society (APS) press release, presented to an audience at its ‘Cardiovascular Ageing: New Frontiers and Old Friends’ conference.

Some might suggest that issuing a sensationalist press release was more about drumming up ticket sales for the conference than part of a reputable scientific process. Moreover, all Mark Olfert, PhD was going to be doing was standing in front of a poster (titled “Acute and chronic effects of e-cigarette vapour exposure on vascular function: new friend or old foe?”), explaining what it meant to anybody who cared to stand still long enough.

Is trumpeting results prior to a review good science? No. But then, a simple check into what the APS publishes demonstrates a staunchly anti-vape agenda is being followed.

Olfert’s work was a very small study, commanding just $50,000 from WVU Marshall Health Grants. The proposal stated the pair of researchers (Olfert and Piyali Dasgupta) would “investigate the cellular, molecular and physiological effects of electronic cigarette vapour in mice exposed to 7 months of daily e-cigarette vapour. This study will measure heart and lung function in rodents to provide robust and comprehensive analysis of the long-term effects of e-cigarettes.”

The pair took four female mice and exposed them to vapour acutely, one single exposure lasting for five minutes. They also took six female mice and exposed them to vapour chronically, four hours a day/five days per week, for 8 months. Clearly there’s little point in detailing the experiment further as no detailed information has been published.

Due to the total lack of adherence with scientific protocol, in allowing peers to review and criticise the work, it is ridiculous for the team to be making any comment in the media. But comment they have…

They have spoken about their measurement of the cardiovascular system as being “gold standard”. They have made claims about arterial narrowing, links to asthma and added: “Our data provides the first evidence showing a single acute exposure has negative effects on in vivo vascular function, and that chronic exposure significantly accelerates age-associated increase in aortic stiffness, and significantly impairs aortic endothelial-dependent vasodilation”.

The first evidence? No, no it is not.

“Acute effects of using an electronic nicotine-delivery device (electronic cigarette) on myocardial function: comparison with the effects of regular cigarettes” was published in the journal BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, in 2014, by Konstantinos Farsalinos.

In the study, Farsalinos concluded: “Although acute smoking causes a delay in myocardial relaxation, electronic cigarette use has no immediate effects. Electronic cigarettes’ role in tobacco harm reduction should be studied intensively in order to determine whether switching to electronic cigarette use may have long-term beneficial effects on smokers’ health.”

Again, we have a study by a “scientist” who is using absolutely safe as a yardstick by which to beat vaping as a harm reduction tool. It isn’t absolutely safe, it’s safer – and nobody claims any different. We have no idea what the mice were subjected to, but it is highly probable most of it was the result of dry burns. Olfert’s work appears pointless and adds nothing to the current debate.

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker