E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid -- including tobacco-derived nicotine, flavouring and other additives -- and produce an aerosol that is inhaled.
According to a study conducted by American Heart Association, flavour additives may impair blood vessel function and is one of the major early indicators of heart damage.
The widely used flavours in e-cigarettes are - menthol (mint), acetylpyridine (burnt flavour), vanillin (vanilla), cinnamaldehyde (cinnamon), eugenol (clove), diacetyl (butter), dimethylpyrazine (strawberry), isoamyl acetate (banana) and eucalyptol (spicy cooling).
According to the study, short-term effects were found on endothelial cells, which line the blood vessels and the inside of the heart.
Researchers found all nine flavours were dangerous to cells in the laboratory at the highest levels tested and all the flavourings impaired nitric oxide production in endothelial cells in culture (outside of the body).
Several of the flavourings - menthol, clove, vanillin, cinnamon and burnt flavouring - resulted in higher levels of an inflammatory marker and lower levels of nitric oxide, a molecule that inhibits inflammation and clotting, and regulates vessels' ability to widen in response to greater blood flow.
"Increased inflammation and a loss of nitric oxide are some of the first changes to occur leading up to cardiovascular disease and events like heart attacks and stroke, so they are considered early predictors of heart disease," said lead researcher Jessica L. Fetterman.
"Our findings suggest that these flavouring additives may have serious health consequences."
The study findings appear in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology Journal.
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