e-cigarettes damaging lungs?September 3rd, 2012 - 1:29 pm ICT by IANS
Athens, Sep 3 (IANS) Electronic cigarettes, touted as a safer substitute for cigarettes, could turn out to be a remedy worse than the disease and end up damaging the lungs, says a new study.
Electronic or e-cigarettes are devices that deliver nicotine through a vapour, rather than smoke. No combustion is involved but the nicotine is still derived from tobacco. However, there has been little scientific evidence to support claims either on its safety or efficiency.
Researchers from the University of Athens, Greece, aimed to investigate the short-term effects of using e-cigarettes on different people, including people without any known health problems and smokers with and without existing lung conditions.
The study included a group of people who had never smoked and 24 smokers, 11 with normal lung function and 13 people with either chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma, according to an Athens statement.
Each person used an electronic cigarette for 10 minutes. The researchers then measured their airway resistance using a number of tests, including a spirometry test.
The results showed that for all people included in the study, the e-cigarette caused an immediate increase in airway resistance, lasting for 10 minutes. In healthy subjects (never smokers) there was a statistically significant increase in airway resistance from a mean average of 182 percent to 206 percent.
Christina Gratziou, professor and study author from Athens, said: “We do not yet know whether unapproved nicotine delivery products, such as e-cigarettes, are safer than normal cigarettes, despite marketing claims that they are less harmful. This research helps us to understand how these products could be potentially harmful.
“We found an immediate rise in airway resistance in our group of participants, which suggests e-cigarettes can cause immediate harm after smoking the device. More research is needed to understand whether this harm also has lasting effects in the long-term,” added Gratziou.
These findings were presented on Sunday at the European Respiratory Society’s Annual Congress in Vienna, Austria.
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Tags: airway resistance, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cigarettes, combustion, copd, delivery products, health problems, lung conditions, lung function, lungs, nicotine, nicotine delivery, obstructive pulmonary disease, smokers, spirometry, spirometry test, study author, ter, university of athens, university of athens greece