'Cautious scepticism' urged over e-cigarette safety

'Cautious scepticism' urged over e-cigarette safety

Researchers found e-cigarette vapour disabled important immune cells in the lung and boosted inflammation. It was found that the vapour led to inflammation and damaged activity of alveolar macrophages - cells that aid in removing dust particles, allergens and bacteria.

Vaping can damage vital immune system cells and could be more harmful than initially thought, according to a study from the University of Birmingham.

To arrive at this conclusion, researchers conducted a study which mimicked the act of vaping on extracted alveolar macrophages from lung tissue samples provided by the eight nonsmokers. Shockingly, some of the effects were similar to those seen in regular smokers and people with chronic lung disease. However, it must be remembered that these results were obtained in a laboratory thus further research is needed for better understanding of the long-term health impacts of e-cigarettes.

Public Health England, however, considers vaping safer than traditional cigarettes.

But most of the existing body of research has focused on the chemical composition of e-cigarette liquid before it is vaped.

'But we should have a cautious scepticism that they are as safe as we are being led to believe'.

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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. "And there are some early studies that suggest that people using e-cigarettes have more respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and wheezing, than those using nothing at all".

Professor John Britton, director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies at the University of Nottingham, said this is a particularly poignant finding for those who plan on using e-cigarettes long term, rather than as a transitional stage to quit entirely.

Britton said: "This indicates that long-term use of electronic cigarettes is likely to have adverse effects, as is widely recognised by leading health authorities in the United Kingdom including the Royal College of Physicians and Public Health England".

What's more, the ability of cells exposed to vaped condensate to engulf bacteria was substantially impaired, although treatment with an antioxidant restored this function and helped lessen some of the other harmful effects.

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

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