Free Subscription

  • Access daily briefings and unlimited news articles

Premium

Try one month for $34.95
  • Quarterly magazine and digital
  • Indepth executive interviews
  • Unlimited news and insights
  • Expert opinion and analysis

UK study finds vaping could harm lung cells

bigstock-Isolated-Vape-Tanks-And-E-Liqu-211831723New research from the UK suggests that e-cigarettes are not as safe as previously thought, and could harm lung cells.

A study published in the journal Thorax found that vapour may cause inflammation and impair the activity of alveolar macrophages, cells which remove potentially damaging dust particles, bacteria and allergens.

The researchers said some of the effects are similar to those seen in cigarette smokers and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

“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,” said Professor David Thickett from the University of Birmingham.

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

Many studies have focused on the chemical make-up of e-cigarette liquid before it is vaped. However, researchers developed a procedure to mimic vaping in the laboratory, testing the effect of e-cigarette vapour condensate on alveolar macrophages extracted from the lung tissue samples of eight non-smokers.

The condensate was found to be more harmful to the cells than plain e-cigarette fluid, and the effects worsened as the “dose” was increased.

The researchers said further work is needed to fully understand the effects of vapour exposure in humans.

“This indicates that long-term use of electronic cigarettes is likely to have adverse effects, as is widely recognised by leading health authorities in the UK including the Royal College of Physicians and Public Health England.

You have 3 free articles.