In recent years, e-cigarettes have become very popular among Americans, especially among young Americans. E-cigarettes are said to be far less harmful than cigarettes and can help you quit smoking for good. But are e-cigarettes really safe?
The latest study in mice raises some health concerns about the use of electronic cigarettes.
About the study
In the study, the researchers split the mice into four groups:
—The first exposed to cigarette smoke for four months
—The second exposed to e-cigarette vapors with solvents and nicotine for four months
—The third exposed to e-cigarette vapors with solvents but no nicotine for four months
—The last exposed to clean air for four months
As expected, mice chronically exposed to cigarette smoke or e-cigarette vapors with solvents and nicotine had severely damaged lungs and excessive inflammation. This finding suggests that human smokers are more likely to develop emphysema, a lung condition that causes shortness of breath.
Unexpectedly, mice chronically exposed to e-cigarette vapors, without any nicotine, also had damaged lungs. In this case, though the researchers did not observe inflammation, they found evidence of abnormal buildup of lipids (fats) in the lungs and macrophages (large white cells to "eat" particles bad for your health).
The abnormal fats in mice's lungs disrupted both normal lung structure and function. When the mice were exposed to influenza virus, the abnormal macrophages also responded poorly to the infection.
"In summary, our experimental findings reveal that, independent of nicotine, chronic inhalation e-cigarette vapors disrupts normal murine lung function and reduces the ability of resident immune cells to respond to infection, increasing the susceptibility to diseases such as influenza," said corresponding author Dr. Farrah Kheradmand.
Concerns about e-cigarettes
E-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco products in the adolescent population in the United States. "More than 3 million high school age adolescents as well as about 10 million adults in the U.S. are active users," said Kheradmand.
Although e-cigarettes are often advertised as a less dangerous alternative to cigarettes, they may still have health risks. You should really think twice before using e-cigarettes.
Check Vaping May Lead to Lung Disease Like Smoking to know more health risks e-cigarettes may have.