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E-Cig Vapor Increases Inflammation, Bacteria

More evidence has been released this week about the possible harmful effects of smoking e-cigarettes, with a study published on Monday suggesting that e-cigarette vapor could be toxic to humans, increasing inflammation and boosting harmful bacteria in the body.

The results were found by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, and Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, who together looked at the effect of e-cigarette smoking, also known as ‘vaping,’ on mice.

In the study the mice inhaled vapors from e-cigarettes over a four-week period, inhaling the vapors for one hour a day, five days a week. The team used e-cigarette vapor from seven different manufacturers to look at a variety of formulas and brands.

At the end of the four weeks the mice who had been exposed to the vapors showed 10 percent more signs of inflammation in their blood and airways than mice who hadn’t been exposed, with the results consistent across the seven different vapors.

Senior author Laura E. Crotty Alexander commented on the findings saying, “This study shows that e-cigarette vapor is not benign — at high doses it can directly kill lung cells, which is frightening. We already knew that inhaling heated chemicals, including the e-liquid ingredients nicotine and propylene glycol, couldn’t possibly be good for you. This work confirms that inhalation of e-cigarette vapor daily leads to changes in the inflammatory milieu inside the airways.”

Although the team do not currently know for certain what illnesses these inflammatory changes will lead to, but based on their findings and others they are confident that the toxins in e-cigarettes will ultimately lead to disease, with the team observing that “Some of the changes we have found in mice are also found in the airways and blood of conventional cigarette smokers, while others are found in humans with cancer or inflammatory lung diseases.”

In addition the team also found that harmful bacteria flourished in the mice who were exposed to vapor, with Staphylococcus aureus, the strain of bacteria that is responsible for the development of MRSA, better able to invade human airway cells and more resistant to the body’s defense mechanisms after exposure to e-cigarette vapor.

The study was published on Monday in the Journal of Molecular Medicine.

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