A recent study has claimed that using e-cigarettes – battery-powered gadgets that heat liquid nicotine into vapour – might be just as harmful as smoking conventional cigarettes.
Researchers from the University of North Carolina say they found that vapers could also be prone to unique health problems, reports The Independent
They said vapers showed high levels of protein that are linked to potentially serious lung conditions.
There is confusion about whether e-cigarettes are “safer” alternatives to cigarette, Dr Mehmet Kesimer, who led the study, was quoted as saying.
He said their study findings suggested that e-cigarettes could be “just as bad as cigarettes.”
The study found an increase in mucin 5AC, a mucus secretion associated with chronic bronchitis and asthma, in both e-cigarette and cigarette users.
Smokers have been opting for e-cigarettes as a “healthier alternative” to smoking tobacco since they came on the market in 2007 but very little is known about the long-term effects of vaping.
E-cigarettes are tobacco-free devices people use to inhale nicotine-laced vapour. In September, researchers from Karolinska Institute
claimed that the use of vaping devices containing nicotine could increase risk of heart attack and stroke.
Many specialists think e-cigarettes are a lower-risk alternative to tobacco and could help to quit smoking.
Sales of vaping products are expected to reach $4.4 billion this year, according to Wells Fargo Securities analysts, Reuters reported in June
Dr Kesimer said their data showed that e-cigarettes had a “signature of harm in the lung that is both similar and unique” and that it challenged the concept that e-cigarette was a healthier alternative.
The study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, examined 44 sputum samples from e-cigarette users, current cigarette smokers, and non-smokers.
The authors made it clear that most of the e-cigarette smokers were formerly cigarette smokers, which made it hard to clearly identify whether these results were only related to e-cigarette use.
In 2015, Public Health England concluded that vaping was 95% less harmful than smoking normal cigarettes
as most of the chemicals that cause smoking-related diseases are absent in e-cigarettes.
Passive inhalation from an e-cigarette was also much less harmful.
Professor Kevin Fenton from Public Health England had said that e-cigarettes were “not completely risk free” but when compared to smoking, “evidence shows they carry just a fraction of the harm.”
Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s expert in cancer prevention, had said that overall evidence pointed to e-cigarettes “actually helping people to give up smoking tobacco.”