The Vapor From the Nicotine-Free E-Cigarettes Damages the Lung Cells Too


The use of electronic cigarette in the last few years has exceeded that of regular cigarettes among the teenagers. Now, one new study showed that the e-cigarettes are not necessarily great for the lung health either, not just is nicotine damaging to the lungs, but even the exposure to vapor from the e-cigarettes that don’t have nicotine might have deleterious effects.

The use of e-cigarettes among middle school and high school students tripled between 2014 and 2013, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Food and Drug Administration. That is 2 million high school students and almost half a million middle school students in the country. The FDA’s Mitch Zeller said that in today’s rapidly evolving tobacco marketplace, the rush in youth use of new products like the electronic cigarettes forces them to confront the reality that the progress they have made in the reducing youth cigarette smoking rates was being threatened.

The smoke of the cigarette causes breakdown of lung endothelial cells (those which make up the lining of the paired organ) that can lead to many lung inflammation and injuries. The addictive chemical nicotine is one of hundreds components in the smoke of the cigarette and the researchers are still attempting to find out which of these are causing the loss of lung cells.

Indiana University’s Kelly Schweitzer and colleagues wished to see if only the nicotine is enough to alter the cellular matrix that aids the function and shape of lung cells. They exposed mice and also cells from humans and mice, to cigarette smoke extract and to 2 types of e-cigarette solution – one being nicotine free, the other containing nicotine. The harmful effects of the nicotine depend on the dose, they discovered, and the result in loss of ling endothelial barrier function, decreased lung endothelial cell proliferation and acute lung inflammation. The crew observed the effects in cigarette smoke and in e-cigarette solutions containing nicotine.

The nicotine-free e-cigarette solutions contained also substances that are harmful for the lung cells. The acrolein targets molecules that hold together the lung endothelial cells.

Irina Petrache, the study co-author of IU said that the increased use of inhaled nicotine from the e-cigarettes, especially among the young people, prompts increased the research into the effects on your health. This research shows that components discovered in commercially available e-cigarette vapors and solutions generated by heating them might cause inflammation of the lung. The effects described in this study characterize short-term effects of the e-cigarettes exposures. Whereas studies of long-term effects await further researches, these results caution that the inhalation of e-cigarette might be connected with adverse effects on the health of the lungs.

These findings were published recently in the American Journal of Physiology – Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology.