E-Cigarettes & COPD – What You Should Know

Vaping e-cigarettes has recently been hailed as the safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. While it is true that e-cigarettes contain less harmful chemicals than regular cigarettes, scientists are just beginning to study this new invention and its effects on the human body. Let’s see what researchers know so far about it and what their findings mean, especially for people who suffer from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder).

E-Cigarettes & COPD - What You Should Know

What Are E-Cigarettes?

E-cigarettes, also known as electronic cigarettes or vaporizer cigarettes, are battery-operated devices that emit vaporized nicotine, which is inhaled by the user. Many use them as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes, which carry over 4,000 various chemicals.

The user can put a variety of cartridges into their e-cigarette, including hundreds of flavors. Each cartridge usually contains a solution made up of nicotine dissolved in propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin (both common food additives). Is this a harmless alternative to smoking cigarettes? Let’s see what the research says.

E-Cigs & Your Health

A study was recently conducted by Thomas Sussan, PhD, an assistant scientist in the Department of Environmental Health and Sciences at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg of Public Health. This study showed the effects of e-cigarette vapor on mice through a two week period. The results showed inflammation and protein damage in the lungs.

The same mice that were exposed to e-cigarette vapor were then exposed to different viral and bacterial infections. Once exposed, they were more susceptible to the infections than the control group. Some mice even died shortly after the pathogen was introduced.

Another study revealed that the nicotine in e-cigs caused inflammation, airway hyper-reactivity, and lung tissue destruction.

While this was a study on mice over a few week period, it also shines light on the long-term consequences of vaping for humans. For people who have COPD, the consequences may be even more severe. COPD and asthma sufferers are more susceptible than most to complications from inhaling any kind of irritant. For more information on COPD and its symptoms, check out our blog post, Understanding COPD.

The Future of Vaping

While research on these new devices is still in its infancy, there is enough information to put you on alert. It’s smart to know what you’re putting into your body and what the possible future consequences could be. To think of e-cigarettes as a “safe” alternative to smoking may just be fooling yourself into perpetuating a dangerous habit.

Stay as healthy as possible by quitting smoking and vaping for good. Talk with your doctor about ways you can kick the habit and start feeling better.

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