The chemicals used to flavor e-cigarettes might change cellular functions in lung tissue and can be as harmful as cigarettes, says a new study.
Lead author Temperance Rowell from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said "In our study using human lung epithelial cells, a number of cell viability and toxicity parameters pointed to five of 13 flavors tested showing overall adverse effects to cells in a dose-dependent manner."
The components of e-cigarettes are not regulated and standardized as compared to standard cigarettes and this is why they vary widely between products.
The study conducted at American Thoracic Society suggested that the characteristics of these e-cigarette elements, including their delivery systems, combustion apparatus, and the composition of the nicotine solutions they contain may affect the levels of potentially hazardous substances in the vapor they produce.
Dr. Daniel Sullivan of the University of Alabama School of Medicine and lead author of the study said that while the chemical compositions and negative health effects of tobacco smoke have been well studied, e-cigarettes have yet to undergo the same level of scrutiny.
The study found that differences in the mechanical and chemical makeup of e-cigarettes affected their generation of combustion products known to have adverse effects on human health.
In addition, the researchers found that e-cigarette condensate inhibited the enzymatic activity of LTA4H, an enzyme involved in the resolution of pulmonary inflammation, in a dose dependent manner similar to that observed with tobacco smoke.
The study is presented at the 2015 American Thoracic Society International Conference.