Much of the hype from the vaping industry centers around the message that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. Without data to disprove the claims, vaping advocates have widely and publicly blasted that message to users.
Now, however, more and more medical studies have been completed and the data is not supporting the “safer alternative” argument. In fact, new studies show that the dangers not only mirror those of traditional tobacco cigarettes, but also pose new dangers not seen in combustible cigarette use.
Recent study results published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine show that e-cigarette use “triggers” the body’s immune response which is how the body protects itself from harmful substances. The study reports the response is the same as triggered by traditional cigarettes, plus unique fighting responses against e-cigarette substances.
Study author Mehmet Kesimer, PhD, associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the UNC School of Medicine at Chapel Hill, stated that “comparing the harm of e-cigarettes with cigarettes is a little like comparing apples to oranges,” because e-cigarettes not only imitate cigarette smoking harm, but also deliver “harm to the lungs that is unique in other ways.”
In addition to known dangers from combustible cigarettes like oxidative stress and overproduction of mucin 5AC linked to lung disease, the study revealed additional risks. E-cigarette users displayed at least two unique health risk indicators: 1) presence of Neutrophil granulocyte- and neutrophil-extracellular-trap (NET)-related proteins “which can contribute to inflammatory lung diseases, such as COPD and cystic fibrosis;” and, 2) NETs outside the lung which are associated with tissue death.
Contrary to the vaping industry claims, Kesimer stated, “This research challenges the concept that switching to e-cigarettes is a healthier alternative.”