Scientists Find E-Cigarette Vapor Does Not Damage Lung Function

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

Researchers at Ohio University recently found that vapor emitted from electronic cigarettes does not have a significant impact on the lung functions of the user.

The study, published Nov. 17 in the journal Respiratory Research, reveals that e-cigarettes drastically reduce the risk of respiratory illness from smoking. The scientists say because vaping devices do not involve the combustion of tobacco, the products eliminate the majority of chemical irritants inhaled into the lungs when a cigarette is burned, reports ChurnMag.

The research focused on the impact to pulmonary surfactant, a secretion that reduces surface tension in the lungs. While the researchers stress that vaping does have an impact on lung structures and may carry some risk, they note the primary compound inhibiting surfactant function in the lungs is tar produced through combustion. Since e-cigarettes simply heat nicotine, rather than burning tobacco, they do not create tar.

“E-cigarette vapor regardless of the dose and flavoring of the e-liquid did not affect surfactant interfacial properties,” the researchers said in the study. “In contrast, smoke from conventional cigarettes had a drastic, dose-dependent effect.”

The findings add to the growing body of research showing vapor products are significantly safer than cigarettes. A forthcoming study investigating the health impact of aerosol vapor emitted from electronic cigarettes shows it poses no meaningful secondhand risks.

The study, set to be published in the Journal of Aerosol Science in January, investigates the immediate health effects of vaping on a daily user and the impact to those in the user’s vicinity. Dr. Mauro Scungio of the University of Cassino in Italy spearheaded the research effort, which concluded that chemical levels in the vapor released from e-cigarettes are well below the safety limits suggested by both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization.

The researchers determined that vaping is statistically 5,700 times less harmful to users than combustible cigarettes, drastically reducing the risk of developing smoking related illnesses. The scientists compared particles in the air from e-cigarette vapor with particle levels released from tobacco smoke to reach their conclusions.

Vaping eliminates the harms from conventional cigarettes by 95 percent, according to Public Health England, because the majority of the carcinogens that cause tobacco-related illnesses are released through combustion.

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