Vaping increases the risk of pneumonia, experts have suggested.
Tests on both humans and mice found that the vapor from e-cigarettes causes harmful bacteria to stick to the airways, increasing the chances of the potentially deadly lung condition.
It didn’t make a difference whether the e-cigarette had nicotine in it or not, researchers from Queen Mary University of London found.
The team exposed some human nose lining cells to e-cigarette vapors, while others weren’t exposed.
Cells that were exposed to both nicotine-containing and nicotine-free vapor produced three times higher levels of the molecules that pneumonia sticks to than those not exposed.
Professor Jonathan Grigg, who led the research, told The Telegraph, “Together, these results suggest that vaping makes the airways more vulnerable to bacteria sticking to airway lining cells.
“If this occurs when a vaper gets exposed to the pneumococcal bacterium, this could increase the risk of infection.
“Some people may be vaping because they think it is totally safe, or in an attempt to quit smoking, but this study adds to growing evidence that inhaling vapor has the potential to cause adverse health effects,” he said.
However, professor Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, told the MailOnline, “The evidence that vaping might increase the risk of lung infection is only indirect. Although vaping might increase susceptibility to pneumonia, the effect is likely to be lower than from smoking itself.
“This study should not be used as a reason to continue to smoke rather than vape. The evidence is that e-cigarettes are far less harmful.”
The research comes after another study found that vaping might cause cancer and heart disease.
The team from New York University exposed mice and human bladder and lung cells to e-cigarette smoke and found DNA changes that were similar to those observed with secondhand smoke.