Editor’s Note: The study described below alleges certain downsides to e-cigarettes. However in addition to verifying these allegations and their continuance through time it is imperative that the resultant adverse effects of e-cigarettes be compared with those of coventional cigarettes. The author’s failed on this mission.
Medical News Today
Electronic cigarettes, seen by many as a healthy alternative to tobacco smoking, do cause damage to the lungs, scientists from the University of Athens, Greece, explained at the European Respiratory Society’s Annual Congress 2012, Vienna, on Sunday. Electronic cigarettes, also called e-cigarettes have also been marketed as effective smoking cessation devices.
Professor Christina Gratziou and team set out to determine what the short-term effects of smoking with e-cigarettes might be on different individuals, including those with no known health problems, as well as existing smokers with and without lung conditions.
They carried out experiments on 32 volunteers; of whom 8 were lifetime non-smokers and 24 were current regular smokers. Some of them had healthy lungs, while others lived with asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
br> They were asked to use an electronic cigarette for 10 minutes, inhaling the vapors into their lungs. A spirometry test, as well as some others diagnostic procedures were used to measure their airway resistance. Airway resistance is used in respiratory physiology to measure the resistance of the respiratory tract to airflow coming in during inspiration (inhalation) and going out during expiration (exhalation).
They found that using an e-cigarette caused an instant increase in airway resistance that lasted for 10 minutesin the majority of the participants. Below are some of their findings:
- Non-smokers – even among lifetimes non-smokers, using an e-cigarette for ten minutes raised their airway resistance to 206% from 182% (mean average); the researchers described this as a “significant increase”.
- Current regular smokers – among existing regular smokers, the spirometry tests revealed a significant rise in airway resistance to 220%, from 176% after using one e-cigarette for ten minutes.
- COPD and Asthma patients experienced no significant increase in airway resistance from using one e-cigarette for ten minutes.
Professor Christina Gratziou, who is Chair of the European Respiratory Society Tobacco Control Committee, said:
“We do not yet know whether unapproved nicotine delivery products, such as e-cigarettes, are safer than normal cigarettes, despite marketing claims that they are less harmful. This research helps us to understand how these products could be potentially harmful.
“We found an immediate rise in airway resistance in our group of participants, which suggests e-cigarettes can cause immediate harm after smoking the device. More research is needed to understand whether this harm also has lasting effects in the long-term. “The ERS recommends following effective smoking cessation treatment guidelines based on clinical evidence which do not advocate the use of such