By: Nicholas King.
Last Updated: September 11th, 2018.
The Latest Vaping and E-Cig Studies
I last looked at the studies conducted on electronic cigarettes and vaping way back in 2015 and since then a lot of new reports and information has arisen. So here I look at some of the top recent studies that you should be aware of and those that are making an impact.
For the purpose of this article, I refer to electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes, box mods, vape pens as the same thing. Although technically they are not, and you can learn more about the types of e-cigarette here, they all do the same thing, vaporize 4 common substances PG, VG, nicotine, and flavorings into a vapor.
Most studies conducted in the last year seem to be very detailed on a minute investigation of a metal or foreign substance within the vapor of an e-cig, and the potential harm this may have on the human body. So we take a close look at each study, see how the media has interpretted the findings and find out the real truth!
September 2018: Cariogenic potential of sweet flavors in electronic-cigarette liquids.
This study was looking at the e-liquids and the flavorings to see what potential damage they may have on the teeth, particularly teeth decay. Now, most vapers know that e-liquids consist of vegetable glycerin (VG), propylene glycol (PG), nicotine and a wide variety of flavors. This particular study investigated the effect of vaping sweetly flavored e-liquid with tooth surfaces.
The result of the study showed the four-fold increase in microbial adhesion (bacteria that facilitate adhesion or adherence to other cells) to teeth enamel and a 27% decrease in enamel hardness in comparison to unflavored e-liquids. This is actually a pretty interesting study that concludes the effect on the teeth of vaping highly sweet flavors is in comparison to high sugar drinks and candy.
August 2018: Pro-inflammatory effects of e-cigarette vapour condensate on human alveolar macrophages
One of the most recent studies conducted and published in August 2018, by Professor David Thickett DM FRCP was on the Pro-inflammatory effects of e-cigarette vapor and published on BMJ-group journal. It found that the vapor within an e-cig to be as harmful as traditional cigarettes. The study suggested that vaping for 20-30 years may cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This was picked up by newspapers around the world like The Independent in the UK, Reuters, the BBC and many other large and small news outlets stating that vaping was as harmful to the lungs as smoking. We were so shocked with this study we did a little digging at it became clear, it wasn’t such a clear study as the headline suggested.
In fact, we are not medically trained and found the study overwhelming, we’re not sure how this study produced such convincing headlines as we saw. We contacted Professor David Thickett to comment, which he kindly did and said that most headlines were based on a couple of sentences I used to summarise the study. A lot can be interpreted in a sentence or two, so instead of making the same mistake twice, we asked Professor David Thickett to write a more detailed analysis of his study that our readers would understand. You can read his article here, what he did state was that vaping is clearly a health benefit in comparison to smoking and recommended that smokers switch to vaping. His study shows the potential of lung disease occurring over the cause of 10-20 years, as with the continued contamination of other foreign substances the human body interacts with on a daily basis.
Febuary 2018: E-Cigarette Use Causes a Unique Innate Immune Response in the Lung
This was another popular reported on a study looking at the effects of e-cig use on the airways by comparing samples from smokers, vapers and non-smokers, and vapers to see concentrations of mucins MUC5AC and MUC5B. The report found that vapers had an increase in aldehyde-detoxification and oxidative stress-related proteins associated with cigarette smoke compared with nonsmokers. Now I know that’s hard to digest, but they rounded up their findings by saying e-cig use alters the profile of innate defense proteins in airway secretions, inducing similar and unique changes relative to cigarette smoking.
All very scary stuff if you don’t really understand what they are saying, or the actual test procedures they followed. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get hold of any of the lead authors to ask more questions about their study. But they did state that most of the e-cigarette users in the study were formerly cigarette smokers, making it difficult to clearly identify whether these results were solely related to e-cigarette use.
That didn’t stop the media getting hold of it and having another field day with scary headlines like “Vaping May Cause Unique Health Problems” from the Independent and “Vaping Elicits Immune Response in Lungs” from Medpage Today.
We will be keeping a keen eye on the latest studies released related to vaping, and of cause be updating this page to show you how the media interpret them and our own opinions. We do try to contact the publishers for their comments, although this is often not possible, or we fail to receive a reply.