E-cigarette vapour disables lung’s protective cells

Laverne Higgins
August 16, 2018

The perception that e-cigarettes are safe should be treated with caution, scientists have said as research suggests that vapour could harm lung cells. E-cigarettes "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", senior study author Dr. David Thickett of the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, said in a statement.

"I don't believe e-cigarettes are more harmful than ordinary cigarettes - but we should have a cautious skepticism that they are as safe as we are being led to believe", senior author Professor David Thickett from the University of Birmingham stated. "But if you vape for 20 or 30 years and this can cause COPD, then that's something we need to know about".

Not only that, they are also safe for second-hand smokers, but Prof Thickett still insists that e-cigarettes are harmful.

For the cultured cells, exposure to e-cigarette vapour induced numerous same changes in lung macrophages that have been seen in cigarette smokers and patients with COPD, the researchers note. Contrary to popular claim, e-cigarettes are not safe.

Amidst this controversy, the Birmingham researchers extracted immune cells or alveolar macrophages, from lung tissue samples that were taken from eight non-smokers who were never diagnosed with asthma or COPD. So, it can later trigger life-threatening conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Previous studies have focused on the chemical composition of e-cigarette liquid before it is vaped.

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Public Health England (PHE) has told smokers that vaping is a preferable habit because it "poses only a small fraction of the risks" and switching completely from smoking to vaping conveys "substantial health benefits".

Researchers in the study warned vapers "against the widely held opinion that e-cigarettes are safe".

Alarmingly, the condensate was found to be more harmful than standard e-cigarette fluid, with the effects worsening as the dose increased. And inflammation is one of today's leading medical blame-carriers for all sorts of additional health woes, with this study suggesting it interferes with the alveolar macrophages in the lungs that pull out dust and infections.

With that said, it's no doubt that e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes but the results of the research are undeniable and rather concerning.

However, Public Health England advises they are much less harmful than smoking and people should not hesitate to use them as an aid to giving up cigarettes. Treatment with an antioxidant, however, restored that ability and helped reduce other damage caused by e-cigarette fluid, Thickett's team found.

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