Can Ecig Vapor Really Harm Your Lungs and Damage Your Immune System?
This week, the media is ablaze with stories about a new study that scientists are promoting as proof that ecigs are harmful. The PLOS One Study involved exposing mice to vapor from electronic cigarettes and then exposing them to viruses to see if they were more susceptible after “vaping”.
The lead scientist in the study, Thomas Sussan said the results raised definite concerns about how vaping could potentially damage the lungs. “E-cigarette vapor alone produced mild effects on the lungs, including inflammation and protein damage. However, when this exposure was following by a bacterial or viral infection, the harmful effects of e-cigarette exposure became even more pronounced.”
Sussan said the mice were divided into two groups. One group was exposed to ecig vapor for two weeks and then both groups were exposed to a viral infection. The group that had previously been exposed to vapor had a difficult time fighting bacteria in their lungs. Some lost a lot of weight and even died. Ultimately, the researchers believe the vapor compromised their immune system.
Researchers also claim that they found the presence of “free radicals” in the ecig vapor. This has terrified so many vapers and made major headlines all week. But here’s what most media outlets are not reporting. The free radicals were found at only one percent of the level found in cigarette smoke. That means ecigs manage to eliminate 99 percent of the damaging carcinogens that put smokers at risk for cancer.
Tom Pruen, the chief scientific officer at the Electronic Cigarette Trade Industry Association, said the research process was flawed and therefore, the results are nothing more than a scare tactic. He pointed out that the mice were exposed to human doses of vapor and the results were in no way realistic. Further, the scientists neglected to change the cartomizers appropriately so the mice were actually being exposed to vapor from burnt out cartomizers, which increased the exposure to toxins that would otherwise not be present.
“In reality, this research indicates that for people using the products as intended, e-cigarettes really do offer significant harm reduction compared with smoking, and appear to have a remarkably low toxic effect,” Pruen said.
Dr. Penny Woods from the British Lung Foundation said the research just points again to the fact that e-cigarettes should only be used by smokers as a tool for smoking cessation. “Among the wider population, we know many smokers have found e-cigarettes a useful aid to quitting. However, until such time as more research has clarified the long-term health impact of vaping, we wouldn’t advise their use by non-smokers,” Woods explained.
Ultimately, this study had some major problems. You cannot make blanket statements about the safety of vaping based on reactions in mice that were given human sized portions of vapor from burnt out cartomizers. This is simply bad science and in today’s age of modern technology, we can do better.
Other studies have shown that ecigs can actually make a positive impact on the health of smokers. For instance, one independent university study found that 91 percent of smokers experienced improved health after switching to ecigs. Even better, 97 percent reported a reduction or total elimination of chronic coughing.
We want to hear how ecigs have impacted your health. Have you noticed any changes to your respiratory system since you switched to vaping?
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