E-cigarettes may make lungs vulnerable to infection
“Vaping may not be as safe as smokers think, research suggests,” The Guardian reports. New research found that mice exposed to e-cigarette vapours comparable to a typical human level experienced mild lung damage and a reduced immune response to infection.
This may be due to the fact that the vapour produced by e-cigarettes contains free radicals (atoms and molecules that are toxic to cells).
Mice exposed to e-cigarettes daily for two weeks had increased levels of macrophages in their lungs. Macrophages are a type of white blood cell that remove damaged and dead cells, and are evidence of cell damage. These mice also had a worse response when infected with either a bacteria that causes pneumonia or the flu virus.
E-cigarettes vapour contains 1% of the amount of free radicals that are produced from normal cigarettes, so it is not clear from this study what effect this would have for humans.
Are e-cigarettes safer than normal cigarettes? Almost certainly. Are they 100% safe? Probably not.
If you are planning to quit smoking, especially if you have a lung condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, other types of nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs), such as patches, may be a safer option.
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