At the Ohio State University researchers decided to tackle the hot-button issue of e-cigarette use (commonly known as “vaping”). The rising level of “vaping” among both traditional cigarette smokers as a “safer” alternative and among non-smokers is of concern since the products are fairly unregulated and new users have greatly outpaced the available research data.
Using a technique called bronchoscopy the OSU researchers were looking for inflammation and other smoking related effects. Using basic e-cigarettes (no nicotine and no flavor) researchers found a noticeable increase in inflammation after four weeks of use. Although compared to the control group the measure of inflammation was small this initial data tells us that even short term use is making changes to the body at the cellular level.
The inflammation from smoking is an important factor in lung cancer and other diseases of the respiratory system.
According to researchers any kind of cellular inflammation related to e-cig use is of concern. The reason? The biological and health effects of vaping propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine are currently unknown. While the FDA has stated that these are safe for food and cosmetics heating and inhaling the substances has not been widely studied. Researchers wanted to stress even thought the study was small the noticeable effects should be of concern and very much warrant further research.
The implication of the study is that long-term use compounded with increased use and adding in flavors and nicotine may create additional inflammation. The problem is that vaping is widely considered to be a “safer” alternative to smoking tobacco products and “safer” doesn’t mean “safe.”