Vaping can damage vital immune system cells

By Haneen Hameed | @haneenhameed6
Subedited by Jasmine Wing | @jasminew_BN

We try to escape our everyday stresses and tensions by “puffing it away”. Although smoking relieves stress for the time being however with the passage of time it becomes the leading cause of preventable death. Lung cancer, blood cancer, heart disease are just a few effects smoking has on the human body.

Due to the widely believed notion that e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco cigarettes, many people have switched to e-cigarettes in order to relieve their daily stresses. E-cigarettes have proved to be beneficial by helping people quit smoking, thereby boosting the demand for e-cigarettes.

Earlier studies focused their attention on the chemical composition of e-cigarette vapour and found minimal amounts of carcinogens present in vapour compared to traditional cigarettes. According to Cancer Research UK, electronic cigarettes do not contain cancer causing tobacco therefore, they label it as less harmful to human health in comparison with tobacco cigarettes. Although e-cigarettes may not cause cancer, new research suggests that they may have adverse health effects. Recent researchers have found that e-cigarette are responsible for harming vital immune system cells. The new research shows that important immune cells in the lungs are adversely affected by vapour and can lead to the inflammation of the lungs.

A small experimental study at the University of Birmingham, led by Professor David Thickett has confirmed that vaping should not be considered safe as it can also harm the body like traditional cigarette smoke. Researchers developed a mechanical procedure in order to mimic vaping from taking lung tissue samples of eight non-smokers. Results from this study concluded that vapour caused inflammation in the lungs and damages the functioning of immune cells called alveolar macrophages. Alveolar macrophages cells are responsible for clearing the respiratory tract of any potentially damaging dust particles, bacteria and allergens. Results suggested that some of the effects were quite similar to those in regular smokers and people with chronic lung disease.

Although according to Public Health England, vaping has less harmful effects than regular smoke; however it cannot be concluded that vaping is “totally safe”. In order to understand the long-term health impact of vaping it is clear that more research needs to be conducted in this area.

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