New study from Italy; E-cigs help regulate arterial hypertension without weight gain

Six scientists from Italy and one from the United States joined forces recently for a scientific study focusing on the possible health effects of e-cigs on patients suffering from arterial hypertension.  They focused on three primary areas of research: changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and body weight.  What they discovered is that e-cigs show a significant potential to help patients suffering from arterial hypertension by lowering and regulating their blood pressure without incurring noticeable weight gain, which is sometimes a common side-effect of both quitting smoking and certain prescription medications.

Patient Characteristics

The study took well over a year to complete and utilized two groups of patients. One group consisted of regular e-cig users while the control group was comprised solely of conventional smokers.  Both groups suffered from arterial hypertension and were of similar age, blood pressure levels (<10 mmHg), and gender-related body weights (<5 kg).

  • The control group consisted of 89 patients deemed regular smokers (50 male, 39 females) and currently being prescribed anti-hypertensive drugs at the onset of the study.
  • The second group consisted of 43 patients (26 male, 17 females) who reported substituting e-cigs and vaping technology for convention smoking for a period ranging between 10 to 14 months prior to the study. 36 of the 43 claimed to have been using e-cigs for at least a year or longer.

The scientists then monitored and evaluated both groups of patients on two separate occasions – once after 6-months and then again at 12-months. The research team was particularly interested in the long-term changes in the patients’ resting blood pressure rates and their level of control or fluctuations.  Also taken into consideration were patients who classified themselves as dual users of both conventional cigarettes and vaping technology.

Study Results

After both the 6-month and the 12-month follow-up visits were conducted on both groups of patients, the scientists recorded a dramatic drop in the number of e-cig patients who still suffered from arterial hypertension.   Furthermore, the blood pressure control in e-cig patients increased an astounding 500% compared to the reference group of smokers.

“The overall proportion of patients in the EC group with good BP control at baseline increased from 25.6% to 37.2% and 48.8% at follow-up visit 1 and 2.  In contrast, the proportion of patients in the reference group with good BP control at baseline (19.6%) was virtually unchanged during the course of the study (Visit 1: 19.6%; Visit 2: 21.7%).”

Regarding changes in body weight, the scientists witnessed a small increase in body weight of 1.2kg for the e-cig group vs. 0.7kg for the smokers group.  However, the differences in weight gain are so small that they are deemed scientifically insignificant.  The researchers believe that this is important information because weight gain for smokers trying to quit can sometimes exacerbate the existing condition of arterial hypertension.

“By alleviating weight gain, EC use may ultimately deter the hypertensive comorbidities of both smoking and obesity. Additionally, it must be noted that we investigated a relatively “young” population with a short duration of hypertension history and probably less established vascular remodelling; this might also have contributed to the positive effects on BP and BP control.”

Ideally, if the research is correct, physicians will want their patients to quit smoking by transitioning to vaping while managing their body weight to reap the maximum benefits of the prescription medications in the shortest amount of time.

The complete study entitled Blood Pressure Control in Smokers with Arterial Hypertension Who Switched to Electronic Cigarettes was originally published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health and most recently in the online journal Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute.

Article Credit: Matt Rowland

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