E-cigarettes are apparently just as unhealthy an option as tobacco cigarettes. This is according to a study by Indiana University’s Kelly Schweitzer and colleagues.
According to Iflscience, nicotine is greatly damaging for the lungs in any form, and even exposure to vapor from e-cigs that don’t contain nicotine may have deleterious effects.
With the study, the group wanted to see if nicotine alone is enough to alter the cellular matrix that supports the shape and function of lung cells.
Thus, they exposed mice, as well as cells from mice and humans, to cigarette smoke extract and to two kinds of e-cigarette solution - one containing nicotine, the other being nicotine-free.
The team observed, depending on the dose, harmful effects in cigarettes and e-cigs containing nicotine, which included loss of lung endothelial barrier function, acute lung inflammation and decreased lung endothelial cell proliferation.
Also, the nicotine-free e-cig solutions contained substances that harmed lung cells. Said study co-author, Irina Petrache of IU:
"The increased use of inhaled nicotine via e-cigarettes, especially among the youth, prompts increased research into the effects on health. This research reports that components found in commercially available e-cigarette solutions and vapors generated by heating them may cause lung inflammation,"
"The effects described characterize short-term effects of e-cig exposures. Whereas studies of long-term effects await further investigations, these results caution that e-cigarette inhalation may be associated with adverse effects on lung health."