'Safe' vaping could cause lung damage

A man smoking an e-cigarette

A man smoking an e-cigarette

Researchers found e-cigarette vapour disabled important immune cells in the lung and boosted inflammation. He's a professor in respiratory medicine at the University of Birmingham, in England.

The researchers "caution against the widely held opinion that e-cigarettes are safe".

But scientists and health officials across the world are now divided over the safety of e-cigarettes.

"But we should have a cautious scepticism that they are as safe as we are being led to believe". Some effects were similar to those in cigarette smokers and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The conclusions came after scientists tested the effect of condensed e-cigarette vapour on alveolar macrophages taken from lung tissue samples extracted from eight non-smokers. None of the participants had ever suffered from asthma or COPD.

I don't believe e-cigarettes are more harmful than ordinary cigs. It also increased cell death by a factor of 50. Free radicals are reactive chemicals with the potential to damage cells.

The study also found that the cells that were exposed to vaped condensate were far less able to engulf bacteria.

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Earlier this year, an independent review concluded that e-cigarettes should be available on prescription due to the fact that there is "overwhelming evidence" that they are better for you than smoking.

While vaping is safer than traditional cigarettes, they may still be harmful in the long-term, he warned.

He added that little is known about the long-term effects of vaping on the lungs.

"However, since electronic cigarettes are used nearly exclusively in the UK by current or former smokers, the key question is how this adverse effect compares with that of exposure to cigarette smoke", Professor John Britton, director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies at the University of Nottingham, said.

"We have to be careful when we promote these as safe", said Hill, who is also director of clinical research at Waterbury Pulmonary Associates, in CT.

E-cigarettes don't proceed tar or carbon monoxide; two of the main toxins in cigarette smoke, said the NHS.

The report was published online August 13 in the journal Thorax.

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