Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Smoking Cessation Health Center

Font Size

E-Cigarettes Don't Harm Heart, Study Shows

Electronic Cigarettes Useful as Smoking Cessation Aid, Researcher Says
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Aug. 28, 2012 (Munich, Germany) -- Electronic cigarettes do not appear to be bad for your heart, according to the first study to look at the effects of smoking e-cigarettes on heart function.

The devices -- battery-powered metal cartridges that simulate the effect of smoking by heating nicotine-containing liquid into vapor -- can be helpful to smokers trying to kick the habit, says researcher Konstantinos Farsalinos, MD, of the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens, Greece.

"Considering the hazards associated with cigarette smoking, currently available data suggest that electronic cigarettes are far less harmful, and substituting tobacco with electronic cigarettes may be beneficial to health," he says.

Speaking here at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology, Farsalinos acknowledges that the study was short and small -- only 22 people were studied immediately before and after using the devices.

Another small study shows that e-cigarettes may have short-term harmful effects on lung function, he says.

Many more people have to be studied for much longer before any firm conclusions can be made about the safety of electronic cigarettes, Farsalinos says.

Still, e-cigarettes are the only smoking cessation aids that satisfy both sides of addiction: the chemical craving for nicotine and "the psychological addiction that comes from having something in your hand, lighting it, and inhaling and exhaling it," he says. "Preliminary studies show this [two-pronged attack] helps people to quit."

Millions Use Electronic Cigarettes

Invented by a Chinese pharmacist in 2003, electronic cigarettes are now used by millions worldwide as an alternative to smoking. But the devices are not regulated, and the World Health Organization has called for studies on their effects on human health.

In the new study, the researchers compared the heart function of 20 daily smokers before and after smoking one tobacco cigarette to that of 22 e-cigarette users before and after using the device for seven minutes. The people studied were healthy and varied in age from 25 to 45.

Heart function got worse in the tobacco smokers, and their blood pressure and heart rate rose. People using e-cigarettes experienced only a slight elevation in blood pressure.

Today on WebMD

hands breaking a cigarette
Is quitting cold turkey an effective method?
14 tips to get you through the first hard days.
smoking man
Surprising impacts of tobacco on the body.
cigarette smoke
What happens when you kick the habit?

Filtered cigarettes
an array of e cigarettes
human heart
Woman experiencing withdrawal symptoms

man smoking cigarette
no smoking sign
Woman ashing cigarette in ashtray
chain watch