Study Finds That Vaping Could Be Damaging Your Immune System

Faith Castro
August 16, 2018

Vaping blocks alveolar macrophages from working - part of the lungs that get rid of dust, bacteria and other allergens, they claimed.

They concluded: "We suggest continued caution against the widely held opinion that e-cigarettes are safe".

With vaping becoming a style statement globally including in India, a small yet significant study has found that vaporisers may potentially disable key immune cells in the lung and boosts inflammation if used for long.

But scientists and health officials across the world are now divided over the safety of e-cigarettes. Researchers at the University of Birmingham, headed by Professor of Pulmonology, David Thicket, who published the journal Thorax (Thorax), according to the BBC and the Reuters agency, found a way to imitate in the laboratory the effects of heat treatment on lung cells that had been taken by eight non-smokers.

Martin Dockrell, who is the lead for tobacco control at Public Health England, said: "E-cigarettes are not 100% risk-free but they are clearly much less harmful than smoking".

While previous studies have shown that e-cigarette fluid causes damage to the lungs, that research has been criticised for not mimicking the effects of vaping itself.

For the goal of the study, the researchers extracted cells from lung samples provided by eight healthy non-smokers.

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Some of the effects of vaping are similar to those seen in cigarette smokers and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), they said. The US Surgeon General has however issued warnings that use of e-cigarettes among the young can lead to several problems such as nicotine addiction, mood swings and impairment of brain development.

"In terms of cancer-causing molecules in cigarette smoke, as opposed to cigarette vapour, there are certainly reduced numbers of carcinogens", Professor Thickett said.

Switching to e-cigarettes could help smokers to give up smoking, it added.

I do not believe that electronic cigarettes are more harmful than normal, but we should have a cautious skepticism as to whether it is as safe as we think.

But most research has focused on the chemical composition of e-cigarette liquid before it is vaped. 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.

Prof Thickett then shared that he believes e-cigarettes are less harmful than ordinary cigarettes but he warned people to be wary about its safety.

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