Though they’ve been touted as a safer alternative to regular cigarettes, it looks like E-Cigarettes (e-cig) are still not a safe option.
Sounds reasonable, you’d probably agree.
In fact , e-cigs been shown to be quite harmful, putting to bed the idea they’re the least bit safe at all.
This is especially concerning because of how many younger Americans have begun using them. Apparently, young children (middle-schoolers and high-schoolers) lead the United States in e-cig use, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
So, for these young Americans, it might not be doing them an ounce of good to try and escape the damaging affects of cigarette smoking by switching to e-cigs.
Even tough the vapor cartridges of e-cigs contain less nicotine than traditional cigarettes (and sometimes none), they’re still shown to be quite harmful to sensitive tissue in the lungs.
A group of researchers with the American Journal of Physiology—Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology have reported the vapor from these e-cigs is quite harmful to lung health, including harming the function of endothelial cells in the lungs.
Endothelial cells are the cells which make up the lining of the lungs, and when exposed to e-cig vapor, they are subject to injury, inflammation, and eventual destruction.
Researchers wrote, “We investigated if nicotine, one of the hundreds of molecules present in [cigarette smoke] extracts, is sufficient to alter lung endothelial barrier function by affecting cytoskeletal regulation.”
They were able to discover this only when they conducted trials and both mice as well as on humans.
The American Physiological Society wrote:
The researchers exposed mice and both human and mouse cells to cigarette smoke and e-cigarette solution that either contained nicotine or was nicotine-free. Their findings shed light on how cigarette smoke damages the lungs and point directly to nicotine as the cause.
‘Nicotine has dose-dependent deleterious pulmonary effects that result in loss of lung endothelial barrier function, acute lung inflammation and decreased lung endothelial cell proliferation,’ they wrote. The effects of nicotine were seen both in cigarette smoke and in e-cig solutions that contained nicotine.
Other interesting, albeit startling findings, indicated other substances beside nicotine were likely responsible for the harmful affects observed by the use of many alternative cigarette solutions.
One of these included, acrolein, which is a potentially toxic material which has been shown to literally rip endothelial cells apart from one another.
The researchers concluded:
“The increased use of inhaled nicotine via e-cigarettes, especially among the youth, prompts increased research into the effects on health. This research reports that components found in commercially available e-cigarette solutions and vapors generated by heating them may cause lung inflammation,” said lead researcher Irina Petrache, PhD. “The effects described characterize short-term effects of e-cig exposures. Whereas studies of long-term effects await further investigations, these results caution that e-cigarette inhalation may be associated with adverse effects on lung health.”
This new research presents a very strong argument for the abandonment of e-cigs as a safe alternative to cigarettes.