Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Vaping warning: E-cigarettes ‘may be more harmful than we think’

No caption Researchers found e-cigarette vapour disabled important immune cells in the lung and boosted inflammation
Steve Townsend | 17 August, 2018, 08:44

The study was led by professor David Thickett at the University of Birmingham and has been published online in the journal Thorax.

"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".

Alarmingly, the condensate was found to be more harmful than standard e-cigarette fluid, with the effects worsening as the dose increased. Britain's public health authorities are pushing smokers to switch to it as a safer choice; experts in the United States have warned that electronic cigarettes increase the risk of nicotine addiction among young people, while the World Health Organization has said uneasily that warming up electronic cigarettes can lead to the formation of toxic substances.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2 million U.S. middle and high school students used e-cigarettes just 30 days during 2016.

According to Thickett, the vapour produced by an e-cigarette boosts the production of inflammatory chemicals and disables key protective cells in the lung that keep the air spaces clear of potentially harmful particles.

In an accompanying podcast, Professor Thickett said the tobacco giants, who have bought up numerous e-cigarette companies, have an agenda to portray e-cigarettes as safe.

Although advised by health experts as safer than cigarettes and ideal for use by smokers looking to quit, researchers are now cautioning against this advice. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also expressed concerns regarding the toxins that could be released when the e-cigarette fluids are heated for vaping.

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It showed that the vaping process itself could damage vital immune system cells, at least under laboratory conditions.

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.

They set up a machine that replicated the effect of vaping and studied what happened to the samples of tissue.

This week the government's Science and Technology committee would release a report on the safety of e-cigarette smoke.

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".

But more long-term studies are needed.

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