E-cig flavorings may damage lining of blood vessels

Flavorings used in e-cigarettes harm blood vessel cells in a way that could trigger future heart damage, a new study suggests.

Five flavorings tested in the lab damaged the heart-protective functions of endothelial cells, which line the inside of blood vessels and the heart, said study author Jessica Fetterman. She's an assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.

The flavorings -- menthol  (mint), acetylpyridine (burnt flavor), vanillin (vanilla), cinnamaldehyde (cinnamon) and eugenol (clove) -- blocked the ability of the cells to produce a gas called nitric oxide, Fetterman said.

"These cells make this gas when they are healthy and happy. It's a really heart-protective factor that does a lot of positive things, like preventing blood clots from forming and inhibiting inflammation," Fetterman said. "We found in the cells we treated with these flavoring additives, they no longer produced this gas."

Increased inflammation and reduced nitric oxide are some of the first changes to occur along the path to heart disease, heart attacks and stroke, Fetterman said.



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