Posted on Aug 15, 2018, 1 a.m.
E-cig vapor harms immune cells within the lung and boosts inflammation, effects which are similar to those seen in regular smokers and chronic lung disease, as published in the journal Thorax.
Vapor boosts production of inflammatory chemicals and disables activity of protective alveolar macrophage cells within the lung that keep air spaces clear of potentially harmful particles that have evaded other mechanical defences of the respiratory tract.
Further research is needed to gain better understandings of the long term impact of vaping on humans, findings add to others suggesting e-cigs are more harmful than what was once thought as some effects are similar to what is seen in regular smokers and those with chronic lung disease.
In recent years vaping has gained popularity, most of the body of research on the topic has been focused on chemical composition of e-cig liquids before being vaped. Investigating how vaping changes up the chemical soup and what impact it has a mechanical procedure was created to mimic vaping and produce condensate from e-cig vapour.
8 non-smokers without asthma or COPD provided lung tissue samples which alveolar macrophages were extracted from; of which one third of extracted cells were exposed to plain e-cig fluid, another third to varied strengths of artificially vaped condensate with and without nicotine, and the final third being exposed to nothing, all being exposed for 24 hours. According to the researchers results showed condensate was more harmful to cell than e-cig fluid with effects worsening as doses increased. Total number of viable cells significantly decreased after 24 hours of exposure to vaped condensate, condensate containing nicotine amplified the effect.
Condensate exposure was observed to increase cell death and boosted production of oxygen free radicals by a factor of 50 and significantly increased production of inflammatory chemicals, effects were exaggerated with condensate containing nicotine; and ability of cells to engulf bacteria was impaired significantly, treatment with antioxidants helped to restore function and lessen some of the harmful effects. It was concluded that vaping process can damage vital immune system cells, and exposure of macrophages to e-cig condensate can induce many of the cellular and functional changes in function seen in cigarette smokers and COPD.
E-Cigs may be safer than traditional cigarettes, but they may be similarly harmful in the long term, as there may be reduced numbers of cancer causing molecules and carcinogens in e-cig vapour but they are still there. Fair enough more research needs to be conducted, but new studies suggest that there should be cautious scepticism that e-cigs are as safe as we are being led to believe in the agenda of portraying e-cigarettes as a safe alternative.
Materials provided by BMJ.
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Aaron Scott, Sebastian T Lugg, Kerrie Aldridge, Keir E Lewis, Allen Bowden, Rahul Y Mahida, Frances Susanna Grudzinska, Davinder Dosanjh, Dhruv Parekh, Robert Foronjy, Elizabeth Sapey, Babu Naidu, David R Thickett. Pro-inflammatory effects of e-cigarette vapour condensate on human alveolar macrophages. Thorax, 2018; thoraxjnl-2018-211663 DOI: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2018-211663