Most people consider electronic cigarettes as a safer alternative to smoking regular cigarettes, but there are still some who ask if e-cigs can harm their lungs. Based on a report featured at the Annual Congress by the European Respiratory Society, these smoking devices could cause a rise in airway resistance when your blood failed to absorb the sufficient amount of oxygen. This effect lasts for about ten minutes, which means there are some respiratory issues that can arise from smoking electronic cigarettes.
How Can E-Cigs Harm the Lungs?
E-cigarettes bring nicotine to your body through a thin vapor instead of a smoke. Before these devices became very popular, about 650,000 smokers used inhalers that appear as cigarettes to help them get rid of the habit. At present, though, more and more people decide to switch to electronic cigarettes to help them get rid of the habit of smoking tobacco. However, skeptics are not quite convinced with these devices, and they question the possibility that e-cigs may cause some damages to their lungs in the long run.
Thus, several researchers decided to determine the effects of electronic cigarettes. The study included 8 individuals who never smoked and 24 habitual smokers who either have normal lung condition and asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. These study participants were asked to smoke an e-cig for 10 minutes, and researchers measured the airway resistance by performing a series of tests. For individuals who used electronic cigarettes, they experienced a quick increase in their airway resistance for about 10 minutes, which was even more pronounced among smokers.
These individuals were asked to use en e-cigarette for at least 10 minutes, and they inhaled the vapor into their lungs. Study participants were told to undergo a spirometry test and a few other diagnostic tests that helped measure the airway resistance of these smokers. In respiratory physiology, airway resistance measures the respiratory tract’s resistance to the airflow that enter the lungs during inhalation, as well as the airflow during exhalation.
After the study, researchers discovered that using an electronic cigarette cause a sudden increase in the airway resistance, which went on for up to 10 minutes. This effect was observed in a vast majority of study participants. As for the other individuals, there were different effects observed after they used electronic cigarettes. For instance, non-smokers experienced an increase in their airway resistance from 182 percent to 206 percent, which was a significant rise according to researchers. Current smokers, however, had an increase of 220 percent from 176 percent after they used an electronic cigarette for 10 minutes. Lastly, there were no evident rise in airway resistance among asthma and COPD patients who took part in the experiment.
In discussing the outcome of the study, Professor Christine Gratziou, one of the researchers who was engaged in this study, discovered an instance elevation in the airway resistance in all the participants. This leads to the assumption that electronic cigarettes can cause harm on your body after you smoke the device. She also stated that further research is necessary to determine completely whether such harm can have lasting effects on a long-term basis.
Conclusion: Are e-cigs harmful to the lungs or not?
Scientific research is usually presented at the onset of conferences, and this provides researchers an opportunity to talk about their experiment results with their peers. Keep in mind, though, that results are commonly preliminary and these do not undergo the similar peer-review process necessary for journal publication. Moreover, conference presentations are often summarized in short abstracts with minimal details available on the results and methods of the study. Thus, it can be challenging to judge the strengths and limitations of the study.
The findings in this controlled study present the possible harmful effects of electronic cigarettes on your lung function. However, there are limited conclusions that you can gain from these studies. Since the clinical study only involved 32 participants who were provided with one e-cig to check the effects on their lungs, this merely presents the first phase of the trial. In order to arrive to further and more reliable conclusions, it is necessary to undertake larger studies that include several healthy participants and those who suffer from different types of lung ailments aside from asthma and COPD. This way, a more reasonable analysis of these experiments may be obtained.