VAPING COULD be just as likely to lead to lung conditions like bronchitis and emphysema as smoking standard cigarettes.
That’s according to a study from Queen’s University Belfast which also found E-cigarette vapour containing nicotine led to bacteria present in the lungs becoming more harmful and not entirely dissimilar to cigarette smoke.
Worse still, researchers believe vaping may carry even bigger risks than smoking because users often inhale vapour for a longer time than standard smoke.
The findings come as part of a three-year study comparing the effect of cigarette and e-cigarette use on illness linked to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
According to their findings, changes in bacteria exposed to vaping was similar and, alarmingly in some cases, even more severe than the bugs exposed to smoking.
The findings suggest vaping devices could be just as harmful to the lungs as cigarettes and come in the wake of 52 vaping-related deaths in the US this year.
Scientists from Queen's University Belfast grew three different samples of common lung bacteria in a laboratory as part of the experiment.
These microorganisms were then exposed to either e-cigarette vapour, cigarette smoke or neither.
In the samples exposed to smoke and vapour, harmful biofilms began to develop in the bacteria, with these biofilms linked to the development of persistent infection.
To further investigate the damage these bugs can do, the Queen's University Belfast researchers infected of the moth G. mellonella with the strains of the lab bacteria.
They found that insects infected with bacterial strains exposed to c smoke or vapour died sooner than those that had avoided exposure. bacteria.
Lead author Dr Deirdre Gilpin, a lecturer in material and advanced technologies for healthcare at Queen’s, said:
“A recurring theme of this study is the similarity in the effect of exposure to cigarette smoke compared to e-cigarette vapour on how bacteria behave and how harmful they are.
“The findings indicate that the effects of vaping on common lung pathogens may be similar to those of smoking.”
Dr Gilpin added: “E-cigarette users take larger and longer puffs, compared to conventional cigarette users, which may increase nicotine delivery.
“Our model may therefore underestimate the exposure of respiratory pathogens to nicotine contained in e-cigarette vapor.”