Smoking e-cigarettes increases the chances of getting pneumonia, claims study

Man exhales e-cigarette vapour in park in Kiev
Representational image Reuters

Many people all around the world consider e-cigarettes as a healthy alternative to paper cigarettes. But now, a recent study conducted by researchers at the Queen Mary University of London has revealed that people who vape on electronic cigarettes are more vulnerable to pneumonia, the chronic respiratory disorder. According to the new study, smoking e-cigarettes elevates the risk of bacterial infections, as the vape from these electronic devices allows bacteria which causes pneumonia stick to the cells inside the human body's airway. The study report is published in the European Respiratory Journal.

During the study, researchers conducted experiments with mice and humans, and finally came to the conclusion that vaping e-cigarettes is not that healthy as people think. The experiments indicated that inhaling e-cigarette vapor had a similar effect just like smoking a traditional cigarette or the smokes coming out from fossil fuels. The research clearly proves that smoking e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes are equally harmful in reducing the lung function of individuals, and over the course of time, it will result in serious respiratory disorders among users.

"Pneumococcal bacteria can exist in our airways without causing illness. However, in some cases, they can invade the lining cells causing pneumonia or septicemia. We know that exposure to traditional cigarette smoke helps these bacteria stick to airway lining cells, increasing the risk of infection. We wanted to see whether or not e-cigarettes might have the same effect," said Professor Jonathan Grigg, of Queen Mary University of London and lead author of the study, Eurekalerts reports.

Previously, the same research team has revealed that platelet-activating factor receptor (PAFR) allows pneumococcal bacteria to help them stick to airway cells. As the bacteria sticks in the airways, it allows them to invade body tissues and cause serious infections. According to the studies, smoking will increase the PAFR levels among people which will make them more prone to respiratory diseases including pneumonia.

"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," added Jonathan Grigg.

Jonathan Grigg also said that his team will continue researches on the long-term health hazards caused by e-cigarette vaping. "E-cigarettes are still very new and we don't have enough evidence on how they affect the human body. Studies like this one give us early warning of what the risks might be," concluded Grigg.