Vaping may be as hard on the lungs as conventional smoking, according to new research.
Flavorings in e-cigarettes may be particularly harmful to the lungs by triggering inflammation, scientists have warned.
Battery-powered vapes, like the Juul, are promoted as a tool to help smokers quit the habit.
But even short term use causes as much or more damage as the real thing, said the University of Athens team.
In experiments on mice they found the additives, including flavorings, caused lung inflammation similar to or worse than that seen in traditional cigarette use.
Study co-author Dr Constaninos Glynos said: ‘The observed detrimental effects in the lung upon e-cigarette vapor exposure in animal models highlight the need for further investigation of safety and toxicity of these rapidly expanding devices worldwide.’
They simulate smoking a traditional cigarette by dispensing a vapor derived from liquid chemicals in a refillable cartridge that typically contain propylene glycol, nicotine and often flavorings.
Propylene glycol – a colorless and odorless additive – is found in numerous processed food and beverages. It is also used as a solvent in a number pharmaceutical drugs, the MailOnline reported.
The findings, published in the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular, show e-cigs and refills are not well regulated – and their long-term effects on health are unknown.
So the researchers compared several groups of mice that received whole-body exposure to varying chemical combinations four times each day, with every session separated by 30-minute smoke-free intervals.
Dr Glynos said: ‘Electronic cigarettes are advertised as a less harmful nicotine delivery system or as a new smoking cessation tool.
‘Our findings suggest that exposure to e-cig vapor can trigger inflammatory responses and adversely affect respiratory system mechanics.
– Natalie Rahhal
Image Source: Unsplash