'Heat Not Burn' Cigarettes Can Still Harm the Heart

News Picture: 'Heat Not Burn' Cigarettes Can Still Harm the Heart
THURSDAY, Oct. 22, 2020 (HealthDay News)

"Heat-not-burn" tobacco products, created as an alternative to other types of smoking, may harm the user's heart, researchers report.

These tobacco products -- think IQOS from Philip Morris -- are billed as substitutes for e-cigarettes or traditional smokes. But a new review finds they may be tied to heart and blood vessel harms.

Researchers found the inhalants were linked to high blood pressure, reduced dilation of blood vessels, stiffening of the arteries, increased heart rate and reduced heart function. They also show a higher risk of heart arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm, in people with pacemakers.

For their paper, researchers from Louisiana State University (LSU) Health Sciences Center in New Orleans analyzed nearly 50 human and rodent studies.

Heat-not-burn products are relatively new in the United States and include noncombustible cigarettes.

They feature tobacco heated to a lower temperature than traditional cigarettes. This releases a tobacco-flavored vapor that contains nicotine, but does not produce fire, smoke or ash, the authors explained in background notes.

But they do release aerosol particles that pollute the air with chemicals and molecules that can cause DNA damage and cell death, the authors noted.

Studies have suggested that the types of lung injuries associated with e-cigarettes, which heat liquid nicotine-containing chemicals, could cause users to turn to the "heat-not-burn" devices. However, the body of research on these new tobacco products is small.

The new review was published online recently in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology.

"Further clinical, animal and in vitro studies must be developed to explore the cardiovascular effects of [heat-not-burn] tobacco products," said co-authors Jason Gardner and Nicholas Fried, from the physiology department at LSU.

Additional research "will assist lawmakers and regulatory bodies around the globe in making informed decisions regarding this novel nicotine-delivery method," they added in a journal news release.

-- Cara Roberts Murez

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SOURCE: American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, news release, Oct. 15, 2020
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