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article imageE-cigarettes affect immune system in lab study

By Tim Sandle     Feb 7, 2015 in Science
A new laboratory study raises safety concerns about e-cigarettes. The study examined the effect of vapor exposure in mice, and concluded that the longer-term use of e-cigarettes can affect the immune system.
With the recent research, scientists took two sets of mice. One group was exposed to e-cigarette vapor in an inhalation chamber. This was at levels that matched actual human e-cigarette inhalation over a duration of two weeks. The second group was just exposed to air over the same period of time.
Following this step, the scientists proceeded to divided each group into three subgroups. One subgroup was administered nasal drops containing a pathogenic bacterium: Streptococcus pneumoniae. This organism can trigger pneumonia and sinusitis. The second subgroup received nasal drops of the virus Influenza A. With the third subgroup, the mice did not receive any pathogens.
The research results revealed that the mice exposed to e-cigarette vapor were more inclined to develop compromised immune responses to both the virus and the bacteria. In some instances, this resulted in death. The science team behind the study postulate that e-cigarette vapor contains free radicals that are capable of damaging DNA, sending critical cells into a state of vulnerability. Although the level of free radicals are lower than those found in traditional cigarettes, it would seem that they are at a level that is potentially harmful.
It should be noted that research on animals doe snot necessarily translate into the same physiological effects in humans. Nonetheless, the results are sufficiently concerning to warrant further sy
The findings echo a recent warning by the World Health Organization (WHO). The U.N. Agency called on e-cigarettes to be banned from indoor public spaces. Furthermore, the United Nations Agency said that the devices pose a risk to adolescents and the fetuses of pregnant women.
The study was undertaken by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health , and the findings have been published in the journal Public Library of Science One. The research paper is titled "Exposure to Electronic Cigarettes Impairs Pulmonary Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Viral Defenses in a Mouse Model."
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