If you think e-cigarettes are safe, think again! E-cigarette vapour disables key immune cells in the lungs. Find out what this means…

E-cigarette vapour boosts the production of inflammatory chemicals and disables key protective cells in the lung that keep the air spaces clear of potentially harmful particles.

This is according to a study published online in the journal Thorax.

What happens when you inhale e-cigarette vapour

Once inhaled, the vapour impairs the activity of alveolar macrophages.

This matters because alveolar macrophages work to engulf and remove dust particles, bacteria, and allergens that have evaded the other mechanical defences of the respiratory tract.

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E-cigarettes are more harmful than we think

Researchers say that, although further research is needed to better understand the long-term health impact, e-cigarettes may be more harmful than we think.

In fact, some of the effects of e-cigarette smoking are similar to those seen in regular smokers and people with chronic lung disease.

Many e-cigarette companies have been bought up by the tobacco giants. There’s an agenda to portray e-cigarettes as safe

The study

Researchers extracted alveolar macrophages from lung tissue samples provided by eight non-smokers who had never had asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

A third of the cells were exposed to plain e-cigarette fluid, a third to different strengths of the artificially vaped condensate with and without nicotine, and a third to nothing for 24 hours.

The results showed that the condensate was significantly more harmful to the cells than e-cigarette fluid and that these effects worsened as the ‘dose’ increased.

After 24 hours of exposure, the total number of viable cells exposed to the vaped condensate was significantly reduced compared to the untreated cells, and condensate containing nicotine exaggerated this effect.

The researchers conclude that the vaping process itself can damage vital immune system cells, at least under laboratory conditions.

Could e-cigarettes do as much harm as cigarettes?

The agenda to portray e-cigarettes as safe

In a podcast, lead author Professor David Thickett explains that many e-cigarette companies have been bought up by the tobacco giants, “and there’s certainly an agenda to portray e-cigarettes as safe”.

While e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes, they may still be harmful in the long term, he says, as the current body of research is in its infancy and not able to answer that question yet.

“In terms of cancer-causing molecules in cigarette smoke, as opposed to cigarette vapour, there are certainly reduced numbers of carcinogens. They are safer in terms of cancer risk, but if you vape for 20 or 30 years and this can cause COPD, then that’s something we need to know about,” he states.

“I don’t believe e-cigarettes are more harmful than ordinary cigarettes,” he concludes. “But we should have a cautious scepticism that they are as safe as we are being led to believe.”

Source:  BMJ via www.sciencedaily.com


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