According to recent studies, the most popular alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes, the e-cigarette, may put at risk the lungs’ immune system. The study shows that the electronic cigarette releases dangerous chemicals similar to those found in traditional cigarettes.
The common perception among many smokers is that the e-cigarette is a healthy alternative to smoking and an efficient smoking cessation method.
Statistics reveal that some smokers who suffer from chronic pulmonary diseases, switch to e-cigarettes hoping to lower the risks of further damaging the lungs.
Shyam Biswal, one of the lead authors of the study and a professor at the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, explained that the effects of the e-cigarette on the human lungs are not neutral.
The researchers have observed that the vapors from the e-cigarettes can increase the susceptibility of the lungs to respiratory infections in lab mice.
The scientists divided the mice into two separate groups: one group was exposed to the vapors of e-cigarettes inside a special chamber designed to simulate how much a person inhales in 2 weeks. The other group of mice was exposed to air.
The team of scientists divided the two groups into three subgroups. One of the groups was given nasal drops that contained bacteria that cause sinusitis and pneumonia, called Streptococcus pneumonia.
The second group received nasal groups with the virus that causes the flue, while the third group did not receive any nasal drops containing viruses or bacteria.
The study showed that the group of mice that has been exposed to e-cigarette vapors was more likely to develop pulmonary illnesses, which killed some of the mice.
Thomas Sussan, assistant scientist at the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Bloomberg School, explained that the vapors from e-cigarettes can affect the lungs, causing inflammation and damaging the proteins.
Sussan added that after the lungs were exposed to the e-cigarettes and then exposed to a viral infection or bacteria, the harmful effects were more pronounced.
According to the study, the exposure to the e-cigarette vapors made the mice unable to clear the viruses from the lungs, which led to weight loss and, in some cases, death.
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