Vaping May Increase Risk of Pneumonia
A study from the U.K. shows that vaping increases exposure to bacteria that causes pneumonia which may increase the risk of contracting the potentially lethal lung disease. The study by Queen Mary University of London showed that vaping increases production of a receptor that captures pneumonia bacteria in the nose, throat, and lungs. According to senior author Jonathan Grigg, MD, there is “growing evidence that inhaling e-cigarette vapor has the potential to damage health.”
In the study, researchers tested nasal epithelials five minutes after participants took 10 puffs from an e-cigarette. The results showed a 3x increase in platelet-activating factor receptors (PAFRs) for pneumococcal pathogens. The study did not evaluate whether or not the study participants developed pneumonia after vaping. Nor did it evaluate the potential for other types of receptor increases such as for influenza or meningitis.
In an article by the UK Telegraph, European Respiratory Society President Mina Gaga, MD, PhD, said “the adverse effects of tobacco smoking are not evident immediately. They usually develop after years of exposure, so we need to do more research and follow users over time to see what the long-term health effects may be [for e-cigarettes].”
Despite the need for more research, the study results warn of potential increases in lung infections from vaping. With that in mind, those at risk, in particular the elderly and those with asthma or related conditions, should avoid vaping. It goes without saying that traditional cigarettes are just as, or more, dangerous for this population.
The ever-growing body of knowledge regarding e-cigarette use shows more and more evidence of health dangers from vaping. Many of these mirror the health hazards of tobacco use, and some that are even more devastating, such as the potential for popcorn lung from diacetyl and life changing burn injuries from exploding e-cigarette devices. In a recent article, Dr. Norman Edelman, senior scientific advisor to the American Lung Association, opined that vaping is not a safe alternative to smoking—the only safe alternative is smoking cessation and, in the case of teens, smoking prevention.