Electronic cigarettes may be harmful to lungs

Kim Hookem-Smith
Yahoo Lifestyle
3 September 2012

There’s bad news for would-be ex smokers, as experts have questioned the safety of the increasingly popular nicotine vapour inhalers used by many in a bid to quit the cancer sticks.

[Related article: Eggs as bad as cigarettes?]

Touted as a safer alternative to smoking, electronic cigarettes deliver nicotine to the body through a vapour that is breathed in. Looking like pens or cigarettes, they’re favoured by quitters who miss the relaxing action of raising a cigarette to their mouths and can be used anywhere as they don’t involve actually lighting up.

But experts have warned that despite this, they may still damage the lungs, and have called for more rigorous testing to be required. Research at the University of Athens has found that ‘smoking’ a vapour inhaler for 10 minutes increases the amount of airway resistance in the lungs.

[Related article: UK to be a non smoking nation?]

“We do not yet know whether unapproved nicotine delivery products, such as e-cigarettes, are safer than normal cigarettes, despite marketing claims that they are less harmful,” said Professor Christina Gratziou, Chair of the ERS Tobacco Control Committee.

“This research helps us to understand how these products could be potentially harmful.

“We found an immediate rise in airway resistance in our group of participants, which suggests e-cigarettes can cause immediate harm after smoking the device.

“More research is needed to understand whether this harm also has lasting effects in the long-term."

He added: “The ERS recommends following effective smoking cessation treatment guidelines based on clinical evidence which do not advocate the use of such products.”

[Related article: Could a jab stop you smoking?]

Deborah Arnott, spokesperson for the charity Action on Smoking and Health told the Mail: ‘We certainly wouldn’t want smokers to think it’s better to go back to using cigarettes rather than e-cigarettes.”

“We’d want to see them properly regulated,” she added.  “Presently they are made in China but there are not properly regulated on how much nicotine they contain or on their safety quality.”

Have you had any luck quitting with electronic cigarettes?

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