Researchers from the University of Athens found that flavourings in e-cigarettes harm the lungs by causing inflammation.
Smokers looking to quit often turn to vaping in the belief that it is better for their health, but analysis, conducted on mice, showed that even in the short-term, the inflammation vaping caused was similar or worse than conventional cigarettes.
Researchers compared several groups of mice that received whole-body exposure to varying chemical combinations four times each day, with every session separated by 30-minute smoke-free intervals.
The results, published in the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular, found that even short term use causes as much or even more damage as the real thing.
Commenting on the findings study co-author Dr Constantinos Glynos said: “Electronic cigarettes are advertised as a less harmful nicotine delivery system or as a new smoking cessation tool. Our findings suggest that exposure to e-cig vapour can trigger inflammatory responses and adversely affect respiratory system mechanics.”
Dr Glynos added: “We conclude that both e-cig vaping and conventional cigarette smoking negatively impact lung biology.”
New research has revealed e-cigarettes could be as harmful as conventional cigarettes? [Photo: Getty]
Now study authors are calling for more research into the effects of vaping.
“The observed detrimental effects in the lung upon e-cigarette vapour exposure in animal models highlight the need for further investigation of safety and toxicity of these rapidly expanding devices worldwide,” Dr Glynos continued.
E-cigarettes work by releasing a vapour derived from liquid chemicals, either glycerol or propylene glycol, nicotine and often food-grade flavourings.
In the past e-cigarettes have been marketed as a way to enjoy smoking with fewer of the health risks of traditional cigarettes. Experts believe one of the main reasons is because e-cigarettes don’t burn tobacco, so should therefore eliminate the risks associated with tar.
This new research could cast an element of doubt over those health beliefs.
There’s no doubt the advice surrounding the safety of vaping is somewhat conflicted.
According to retailer e-Cigarette Direct vaping is still considered to be safer than smoking. Figures from Public Health England reveal that vaping is 95% safer than smoking because e-cigarettes don’t contain carbon monoxide or tar, the two main ingredients in tobacco, which cause health problems.
The problem is that the nicotine or other molecules found in e-cigarettes can still impact lung health.
A significant number of the flavour chemicals used in many liquids are aldehydes, and, when inhaled these can irritate the mucosal tissue in the respiratory tract.
While E-cigarettes are freely available in the UK, and US, they are banned or restricted in some countries, including Norway, Brazil, Singapore and Australia.
Though this latest study could provide some more insight into the topic, the truth is that it is difficult to predict the long-term risks associated with e-cigarettes until further research is carried out.
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