Flavoring and additive components used in e-cigarettes are more likely to raise inflammation and impair lung function, reports a new study. The findings of the study are published in the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology .
E-cigarettes popular battery-powered devices that simulate the act of smoking a traditional cigarette dispense a vapor derived from liquid chemicals in a refillable cartridge.
‘Ingredients used in e-cigarettes can cause lung inflammation and may impair them as badly as cigarettes.’
Researchers from the University of Athens found that short-term exposure to e-cigarettes was enough to cause lung inflammation similar to or worse than that seen in traditional cigarette use.
The study examined several groups of mice that received whole-body exposure to varying chemical combinations four times each day.
30-minute smoke-free intervals separated each exposure session.
One group was exposed to cigarette smoke, another with e-cigarette vapor containing propylene glycol and vegetable glycerol an odorless liquid derived from plant oils, the third with e-cigarette vapor containing propylene glycol and nicotine and another group was exposed to e-cigarette vapor containing propylene glycol, nicotine, and tobacco flavoring.
The findings suggested an increase in markers of inflammation, mucus production and altered lung function in the propylene, propylene plus nicotine and flavoring groups after three days.
Also, two inflammation-producing proteins became elevated only in the flavoring group, which suggested that some flavoring components on the market may not be safe for even short-term use.
The level of oxidative stress at a cellular level in the flavoring group was equal to or higher than that of the cigarette group.
However, respiratory mechanics were adversely affected only in mice exposed to cigarette smoke and not to e-cigarette vapor after prolonged treatment.
"The observed detrimental effects in the lung upon (e-cigarette) vapor exposure in animal models highlight the need for further investigation of safety and toxicity of these rapidly expanding devices worldwide," the researchers warned.