Thursday, 13 December, 2018

E-cigarette vapour found to disable key immune cells in the lung

A person smokes an e-cigarette A person smokes an e-cigarette
Johnnie Parks | 16 August, 2018, 21:44

But the new study, published in journal Thorax, has suggested that it is not all good news and that chemical vapour may cause inflammation and impair the activity of alveolar macrophages, cells which remove potentially damaging dust particles, bacteria and allergens.

This is a "caution against the widely held opinion" that vaping can be used to aid in giving up cigarettes, the researcher said.

Exposure to the condensate increased cell death and boosted production of oxygen free radicals by a factor of 50, and it significantly increased the production of inflammatory chemicals - more so when the condensate contained nicotine.

One-third of the cells were exposed to plain e-cigarette fluid; one-third to different strengths of artificial vapor with and without nicotine; and one-third were exposed to nothing for 24 hours.

To get a more accurate representation of the effects of inhaling e-cigarettes, the Birmingham researchers came up with a way to create condensed vapour, which is closer to what lung cells encounter.

However, they 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. 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.

Researchers concluded that the vaping process itself can damage vital immune system cells, at least under laboratory conditions.

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Initially public health experts were not that concerned about e-cigarettes because they were being marketed as a way to help smokers quit, Blaha said. Some effects were similar to those in cigarette smokers and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

'I don't believe e-cigarettes are more harmful than ordinary cigarettes.

"However, since electronic cigarettes are used nearly exclusively in the United Kingdom by current or former smokers, the key question is how this adverse effect compares with that of exposure to cigarette smoke".

Lead author Professor David Thickett said that while e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes, they may still be harmful in the long term.

The study shows that e-cigarette vapor can do harm although it is not certain it will do harm.

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

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