The e-cigarette industry has exploded. The product is supposed to be less risky than smoking regular cigarettes and may not be dangerous at all. Additionally, e-cigarettes may help smokers to stop smoking tobacco. The enthusiasm may be muted by a new study that indicates e-cigarettes do threaten the health of users. The drawback of the research is that it is based on the health reactions of mice.
Among the conclusions of a study released by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health:
Study also determines that e-cigarette vapors contain ‘free radical’ chemicals previously thought only to be found in tobacco cigarettes and air pollutants.
In a study with mice, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers have found that e-cigarettes compromise the immune system in the lungs and generate some of the same potentially dangerous chemicals found in traditional nicotine cigarettes.
The argument gets less convincing:
For their study, researchers divided the mice into two groups: one was exposed to e-cigarette vapor in an inhalation chamber in amounts that approximated actual human e-cigarette inhalation for two weeks, while the other group was just exposed to air. The researchers then divided each group into three subgroups. One received nasal drops containing Streptococcus pneumoniae, a bacteria responsible for pneumonia and sinusitis, among other illnesses, in humans. A second received nasal drops of the virus Influenza A, and the third subgroup did not receive either virus or bacteria.
The mice exposed to e-cigarette vapor were significantly more likely to develop compromised immune responses to both the virus and the bacteria, which in some cases killed the mice, the researchers found.
Maybe there will be a study on humans in the next few years.