Home > Latest News > Environmental Health > Public Health >

E-Cigarettes May Increase the Risk of Respiratory Illness

February 6, 2015
Public Health

A study by scientists at John Hoskins University in Maryland has concluded that the vapour from e-cigarettes could have a significant effect on the body’s ability to fight off respiratory illness.

Using mice in a two week trial, researchers discovered that animals exposed to a level of vapour designed to mimic the amount inhaled by a person showed less resistance to infection.

Using the influenza virus and streptococcus bacteria which are responsible for pneumonia, sinusitis and other illnesses, the study now brings into question the safety of E-cigarettes.

Professor John Britton director of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control however has sounded a note of caution concerning the findings. He told The Independent newspaper; “The lung is an exquisitely delicate organ and therefore nobody with any common sense would believe that inhaling heated vapour many times a day would be harmless. What matters here is not a comparison of the effects of e-cigarette vapour compared with nothing, but the effects compared with those of tobacco smoke.”

The new study also discovered the presence of ‘free radicals’ which can damage DNA within cells in e-cigarette vapour; the amounts though were 1% of that produced by conventional cigarettes.

Scientists have called on further research to be undertaken to judge the effect of e-cigarettes on long standing conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).