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New Study Claims Electronic Cigarettes Cause Asthma and Emphysema

A new study recently presented during the 2014 European Respiratory Society congress, in Munich – the world’s biggest respiratory meeting – suggests using electronic cigarettes may cause serious respiratory conditions like asthma and emphysema.

asthmaEntitled “E-cigarette exposure induces pathological responses that result in lung tissue destruction and airway hyper reactivity in mice“, the study developed an in-vivo model of e-cigarette exposure on mice, using a small animal nebulizer. Several groups of rodents were exposed for 1 hour a day, 5 days a week, for 4 months, to either nebulized PBS (phosphate buffered saline), vehicle (50% propylene glycol/50% vegetable glycerin), e-cigarette liquid containing 18 mg/ml nicotine in 50%PG/50% VG or e-cigarette liquid containing 36 mg/ml nicotine in 50% PG/50% VG.

After examining the mice, the team of American scientists found that exposure to e-cigarette vapor with nicotine increased lung cytokine and protease expression, mucin staining in the airways, caspase 3/7 activity in the tissue and TUNEL staining in the lung parenchyma. In addition, e-cigarettes induced emphysema and airway hyperreactivity while the vehicle had no effect.

In the abstract published on the official website of the European Respiratory Society researchers concluded that this study shows for the first time that e-cigarette exposure causes asthma and emphysema in vivo.

Unfortunately, this is all the information we have on this study so far. Although its findings are alarming, I think we should all wait for more detailed explanations of its findings and how the actual research was conducted before freaking out. I would personally also like to see an analysis of the study by experts like Prof. Carl Phillips or Prof. Michael Siegel. Strangely enough, these findings completely contradict the finding of a previous research that found smokers who switch to e-cigarettes experience improvements of their symptoms and general lung functions.

This is just one of several e-cigarette studies presented at the European Respiratory Society congress. A team of researchers in Estonia conducted research that apparently shows electronic cigarette use causes changes to cells in the lungs similar to those caused by smoking, but there were also studies which found that the devices could be used as a successful quitting aid.

Despite criticism from reputed tobacco health experts regarding the World Health Organization’s ‘alarmist’ report on electronic cigarettes, The European Respiratory Society has officially stated that it agrees with the WHO recommendations “and believes that a strong regulatory framework is required in particular to protect children, young people and non‐smokers”. The ERS confirmed that it is opposed to the use of unregulated electronic cigarettes because “while the short‐term negative impact on health appears not as great as tobacco cigarettes, the long‐term effects of e‐cigarettes are not known”. According to the official statement of the organization, “as a society grounded in scientific principles, ERS believes that the precautionary principle should be applied when scientific evidence is inconclusive”. Meanwhile, smoking causes more than 5 million deaths per year, worldwide. There is nothing inconclusive about that…

39 Comments/Reviews

  • Saad Alfouzan says:
    5 stars

    Strangely enough, these findings completely contradict the finding of a previous research that found …etc.

    I see no contradiction. exposing healthy lung to 50% pg/vg plus nicotine is not healthy. only fresh air is healthy. However, exposing the above mentioned to a smoker lung would definitely help. I witnessed a progress in my lungs after 15 years of smoking.

    • furryferal says:

      There is no such thing as ‘fresh air’ anywhere on earth, You are all being misled.The rainforests are spewing out burning to make way for palm oil plants, Cars trains, aircraft and factories spew out more toxins in one second that all the smokers in the world breath in a lifetime.This is the reason there will always be lung cancers and the reason non smokers will always get lung cancers as will smokers be at more risk than non smokers.I was diagnosed with cancer 18 months ago, the ‘type’ of cancer is caused by industrial burning which is happening all the time without peoples knowledge and ‘scientists’ would rather waste time forcing mice to breath in unnatural unrealistic amounts of tobacco smoke rather than monitor pollution levels in daily reality.

    • Sandra says:
      2 stars

      where in this world would we find “fresh air”? Your review states that only fresh air is safe to inhale…Recent sudies of our air quality is grave, with regard to the recent spraying of various chemicals by planes for the last 15 years,,”FRESH AIR” is a jake!

  • trey says:
    5 stars

    i smoked for 14 years and was then able to quit smoking and switch 100% to vaping fairly easily. after vaping for about 2 years i started having reactive airway issues here and there. once i started waking up having trouble catching my breath i stopped vaping alltogether and went to the ER. i was given a inhaler and a “breathing treatment” and my issues went away. its been almost 6 months and i still have to use an inhaler occasionally. while vaping did make me feel better for a time, it has caused a problem that wont go away. though i can say that im not smoking or vaping anymore, if i try either it causes my lungs to start inflaming (if thats a word). i know so many people read this and they wont believe it, frankly whether you believe it or not doesnt matter to me, what does matter is letting people know that long term vaping has the potential for permanent side effects. if you switch from smoking to vaping, dont use it as a substitute, use it as a cessation aid.

    • Nina says:

      The same thing happened to me. Vaping to quit smoking for 3 months now. Wake up at night feeling like I’m suffocating. It never happened when I smoked. It’s frightening. I hope to quit altogether asap.

    • Martina says:

      I have same problem, about 1 year i suffered bad bronchitis and string of flues. Been vaping for 2 years. Now i am on asthma inhaler, need 3 shots a day, still vaping but preparing to quit. And i blamed that on cat allergy, which i have and got 2 cats too.

    • Kevin says:

      You are correct. Maybe some people are more prone to this and I have the exact same issue – Asthma that wont go away. I felt better at first as I was transitioning away from cigarettes now vaping causes airway constriction and thick mucous.Even zero PG and all VG does this. Same effect regardless. Even zero nicotine. 🙁

    • Skyler says:
      5 stars

      Same thing happened, happening to me. Scared to go to the doctor. I quit cigs 2 years ago. Vaping npn stop since. Had to quit because of non stop coughing and asthma all night.no ecig for weeks and still wake up at night fighting for air. Inhaler barely helps

      • Amy louise kemp says:
        5 stars

        I am asthmatic ive quit smoking due to poor circulation i started vaping but only vape when i crave a cig and every time i vape i become wheezy smoking Normal cigs did not make me wheezy so im looking for something else to help beat the cravings im finding cleaning my teeth or using mouthwash is helping

    • Adrian says:

      I smoked for years then changed to vaping. After 6 weeks I got the worst cough of my life. I could not touch E-Cig because I got instant coughing from the tiniest amount of vapour. CHanged to VG and no change. 20 months on I now have asthma and presently waiting for ENT exam to find out why I cannot talk without coughing.

      • mike says:

        most every one who stops smoking after a couple of months will loose their breath because the muscus on your lungs start to break up and block your airways.when you smoke their is stuff in a smoke to keep your airways open

    • TheCommentMan says:

      I also noticed after 7 months vaping after having quit smoking for 2 year prior that i could no longer walk up steep hills without struggling with my airways tightening. might be the sheer amount of vapor modern e-cigarettes produce as i never had this problem when i long term vaped 2011-2014. I’d recommend stress testing your lungs occasionally if you are going to press on with vaping.

    • Tiffany says:

      Mike I totally agree with your story and share a similar one. I’ve been trying to stop smoking cigarettes off and on for a year, supplementing cigarettes with vaping or e- cigs.
      I have moderate asthma, and use my inhaler a few times a week if smoking cigarettes. Every time I try to switch to vaping or e- cigs it triggers my asthma. “I’ve noticed it does differ with brand and flavoring.” Every time I use the e- cig I have to use my inhaler. I have also tried to dig up research about the connection between to the 2 witch is extremely hard to find. I think it’s odd that e- cigs have been popular for a few years now and it’s hard to find anything negative written about them. I’m not much on constiracy theories, and never leave comments on random sites, but something odd is being hidden about the adverse affects! The tobacco industry is huge and now e-cigs ” safer” nicotine use….. hmmm.

  • alfie othman says:

    Waking up feeling suffocated is normal with anyone who is quitting cigarettes.
    Its probably not the vape but one of the withdrawal symptoms.

    Having said that, just vape to quit .

  • Caleb says:

    I have quit smoking before cold turkey for a year and never woke up gasping for air and never had shortness of breath but did cough from time to time for about a week well I went back to smoking and then went to rolled tabacco cause of the price and found I wanted to quit so I spent like 1500 dollars on getting the best ecig I could get and figuring it out now since I went to ecig off an on for a year while occasionally Smoking tabaco I

  • ECig Asthma says:

    I loved the ecig at first-it was the only thing that helped me quit cigarettes but 2 years of vaping I suddenly became short of breath and have had a serious pnuemonia like cough and I now have asthma that requires medication daily-several times a day! Its been the scariest thing Ive ever dealt with. I pray I get better. Stop vaping !!!

    • Andrij Harasewych says:

      1. Not vaping. It’s likely something with YOU.

      Have you tried a max-VG vape juice? You may be sensitive to PG as 1/1000 of the population is.

      Think before you speak. Research before you make up your mind.

  • Current asthma says:

    I had been an e-cig smoker since 2012 or 2013 in attempts to quit smoking. I smoked e-cigs and cigarettes in that time. About 6 months ago, I developed a cough that only got worse and quit smoking e-cigs all together because it made my coughing even worse while vaping. A month later, my coughing turned into constricted breathing.
    My doc diagnosed me with asthma, and seemed very surprised as I’m 42 y/o with no asthma history. Albuterol, Flonase and Claritin were prescribed but the only relief came from the albuterol, but the coughing never stopped
    and actually became worse.
    I then went to the ER and was prescribed, which actually eased my coughing significantly. To the point that I could sleep a whole night without waking up in a coughing fit.
    I’ve since started smoking regularly like an idiot, using Flonase, Zyrtec, Flovent and Albuterol with minor continued coughing. No e-cigs.
    It dawned on me the other night that the asthma might have been related to e-cig use and found this article.
    Just like not all will develop cancer as a cigarette smoker, all vapers will not develop asthma. I strongly feel this was a reaction for me. If you in any way start feeling constriction in your lungs and airway while vaping, or hav a “wet” feeling in your airway,, quit as soon as possible.
    These were my signs, asthma is hell.
    Now back to attempt to quit cigarette smoking, I know that doesn’t help.

  • CarolO says:
    5 stars

    People will believe what they want to believe. It’s always easier to fool ourselves so we can continue to keep on with our bad habits. I have emphysema, stage 4, and was a smoker for 52 years. I started vaping a few months ago and the emphysema is even worse than it was. I don’t care what excuses we give ourselves but adding foreign substances to our bodies is never a good thing for us. Vaping may be better for you than cigarettes but it’s changing one bad habit for another.

  • Darlene says:

    I have emphysema n quit smoking n started vaping in May and my emphysema feels like it has gotten worse, I have a hard time catching my breath sometimes n I get winded fast. Any thoughts?

  • adam says:

    I have suffer an asthma during child hood and its a nightmare to me because i always warded and need to get a gass even inhaler everytime. But when the time growing up my asthma suddenly disappear.
    I have been full time smokers for 10 years before i decide to quit and start vaping roughly around 6 month. Right now seems my asthma is comeback again because my breathing starting short and snore. What should i do? i dont wsnt to suffer asthma again but at the same time i still need a nicotine (not ready to stop vaping)

  • Jason says:

    Yeah. I’ve been vaping heavy for about a year. I feel very emphysemic. I don’t have problems when I don’t inhale deeply but it feels really good. I guess I’ll need to just quit. Good to see some people actually taking this seriously instead of just acting like it’s no big deal and letting me think it’s all just because of allergies.

  • Dr Frank Ashall says:

    There are numerous studies showing that nicotine is toxic to tissues and cells in addition to its addictiveness and acute cardiac effects such as rapid heart rate. Various studies, for example, have found that nicotine, independent of smoking, can cause fibrosis (“scarring”) of tissues. Fibrosis of many other tissues (including the liver) occurs with long term exposure to nicotine, regardless of if it is inhaled or not.

  • Sandy says:
    5 stars

    I smoked for 30 years, then stopped the cigs and switched to an e-cig. My wheezing and shortness of breath is worse than ever. Another thing I’ve noticed-I’ve always heard that when you stop smoking you will begin to cough more for awhile as the cilia regrows in the air passages and resumes the normal function of sweeping inhaled contaminants up and out of the lungs. That hasn’t happened for me and makes me think even the e-cig is destroying the cilia function in my lungs. I’m going to have to work harder to quit this stuff all together, lest I wind up toting an oxygen machine…I hope it isn’t too late.

  • EcigAsthma says:

    I’ve been vaping for over a year. Very successful for quitting tobacco, but when I switched to the Herakles tank on my mod, my asthma got much worse since that tank allows a much greater volume of vape. The skinny e-cigs with lower volumes did not cause the problem for me so much, but I’m convinced now that vaping makes asthma worse. Tobacco does too. I’ll probably switch to a different tank system, but I was never able to get off tobacco before. It was always nicotine gum etc until I switched to vaping. Nicotine opens up the airways and makes you cough if you inhale other irritants.

    • Andrij Harasewych says:

      You likely have a sensitivity to PG.

      • Tammy says:

        Every time I try to use an e- cig, it triggers my asthma. Regular (organic tobacco) cigarettes do not. I only use organic e-liquid in a vg base. I wonder if it could possibly be the nickel from the battery, because I am allergic to nickel if exposed to my skin.

      • Stu says:

        This is all true. I have experienced the same things after vaping for 4 months. It was great for stopping smoking but now I suffer shortness of breath and wheezing. I assume it is asthma and hope it’s nothing worse. I am going to a doctors appointment tomorrow to discuss it. I was running today and had to stop because I couldn’t breath. It scared the life out of me. I had never had any of these symptoms or problems before vaping.

  • Ymji Wills says:
    3 stars

    asthma but not asthma. I’ve had asthma all my life and after vaping for 2 years, I have an asthma-like condition unlike any asthma I’ve had in the past. The puffer rescue does not work. The exhale is blocked, but none of the other sensations I associate with asthma are present. very short of breath, and exercise intolerent. ?

  • Alex says:

    I’ve been smoking for about 13 years and I’m 31. I currently don’t have any major symptoms except for what I would imagine is just being slightly out of shape.

    I picked up ecigs back in 2012. I bought the blue starter kit. Loved it. I easily stopped smoking. But I got a really strange pain in my back as well as shortness of breathe at timea. While this one sentence won’t convince you I’m sure, after much trial and error, I know it was the ecigs. I went back to smoking.

    One year ago, I decided to try again with the ecig since the technology has come a long way since I first tried them. I picked up a kanger tank starter kit and hit the juice. Immediately, guess who showed up again? My old friend strange back pain. I said screw it, I’m gonna push through it. About 2 weeks later my back pain ceased. I’d done it.

    Wrong unfortunately. About the same time the back pain ceased I started noticing the shortness of breath. By about a month and a half in, I couldn’t walk the two avenues to the subway without feeling like I was winded. After trying tons of different juices, pure PG, pure VG, mixes, different flavors, different brands, all organic crap, you name it. I had to give it up.

    I loved vaping. It was fun and easy to quit smoking. I do think there is a ton of anti vaping propaganda out there. But I’m a real person with no agenda and this was my experience. If vaping helped you quit and you have no symptoms, I am genuinely happy for you and frankly jealous.

    Immediately after I quit vaping my symptoms subsided. I’m still smoking and really wish that vaping had worked for me.

  • Karen says:

    My experience: Same church, dif pew. I quit smoking after 30+ years via vaping. It has nothing to do with nicotine, because I don’t vape nicotine. asthma symptoms arrive for at least an hour after vaping. It is not the PG, I have tried them all. I believe it is the inherent moisture that it’s heated that you inhale, that causes the irritation in your lungs. My goal now is to stop vaping. I still say vaping is better than smoking.

  • Joelene Paul says:

    The same thing happened to me when I use an e-cigarette I used to have bronchial asthma and when I exhale the e-cigarette I start coughing really bad no matter what I do I really like to know what that’s about cuz I’m a heavy smoker for 30 years

  • Al says:

    I don’t think it has anything to do with having smoked cigarettes before, I have never smoked cigarettes, only marijuana out of a vape and have developed asmtha from just vaping for a short time, I never had any problems smoking it but after 4 months of vape I can’t breathe at night due to air ways feeling like there closing and full of flem, doctor says it nocturnal asmtha.

  • Mike says:

    I stopped smoking 12 years ago, 12 months before having emergency heart surgery, at this time my lungs were fine. Like a fool 2 years ago I started ‘vaping’, I enjoyed it and it was like finding a long lost friend, however, every time I inhaled I could feel it on my chest ad was getting chest pains. After having a CT angiogram to check my heart the doctor said I have bi-lateral, apical emphysema. This was a big surprise and shock and can only have ben caused by the ‘vaping’. I immediately threw it away and now hope my chest doesn’t get worse. Vaping is BAD.

  • Dr. Smithers says:

    It’s quite simple… If you have asthma vaping will only make your breathing deteriorate… Moisture in your lungs will never be a good thing for those who have asthma.. It has nothing to do with the amount of PG like Andrij keeps suggesting… Quit vaping ASAP or you will most likely develop emphysema.

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