A concerning new study is big news for those who have chosen to leave cigarettes for vaping.
An alarming new report should give anyone who smokes “e-cigarettes” pause — and consider kicking the new habit altogether.
Scientists have found that e-cigarette use is associated with big changes in immune-related gene expression in the nasal mucosa similar to that found in cigarette smokers, according to a study published in the American Journal of Physiology.
Many former smokers have turned to vaping as a seemingly healthier alternative, but there is so far scant data on just what the long-term health effects of vaping is, and the data in this study show a cause for concern and a need for more intense studyinto the issue.
Researchers recruited healthy adults who were 50 years old or younger and either non-smokers, active smokers, or active e-cigarette users. The smokers and e-cigarette users were asked to keep journals documenting their use, and scientists took urine and blood samples. After four weeks, researchers took samples from nasal passages to analyze immune response gene expression.
The data indicates that vaping e-cigarettes decreased expression of immune-related genes.
“Exposure to cigarette smoke is known to result in impaired host defense responses and immune suppressive effects,” the paper’s abstract reads. “However, the effects of new and emerging tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes, on the immune status of the respiratory epithelium are largely unknown. We conducted a clinical study collecting superficial nasal scrape biopsies, nasal lavage, urine, and serum from non-smokers, cigarette smokers and e-cigarette users and assessed them for changes in immune gene expression profiles.
“E-cigarette users showed a greater suppression of genes common with those changed in cigarette smokers,” the abstract added. “This was particularly apparent for suppressed expression of transcription factors, such as EGR1, which was functionally associated with decreased expression of 5 target genes in cigarette smokers and 18 target genes in e-cigarette users. Taken together, these data indicate that vaping e-cigarettes is associated with decreased expression of a large number of immune-related genes, which are consistent with immune suppression at the level of the nasal mucosa.”