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Electronic cigarettes destroy lung function and expose to infections that risk interfering with the immune function of the lungs.

This is evidenced by a team of researchers from Baylor College of Medicine who conducted an experiment on some mice. The study, whose results have been published in the pages of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, contributes to generating concerns about the use of electronic cigarettes, which have recently become the centre of attention for a series of deaths (and cases are on the rise) apparently attributable to the same problem.

The researchers, reads the pages of the prestigious magazine, compared the exposure to smoke from normal cigarettes, smoke from electronic cigarettes and solvent vapours from electronic cigarettes (but without nicotine) on three groups of mice for a period of 4 months, which in man correspond to many years of smoking.

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It has emerged that the surface of the lungs, called pulmonary epithelium, is damaged by normal smoke, by that of the electronic cigarette and also, albeit in a different way by cigarette vapours nicotine-free electronics (only with commercially available solvents for their operation). Also the immune function of the lungs (in particular the “macrophages”, the “scavenger” cells present on the pulmonary epithelium) is disturbed by the vapours of the electronic cigarette, with or without nicotine.

In summary our experimental results reveal that, independently of nicotine, chronic inhalation of the vapours of electronic cigarettes destroys normal lung function and reduces the ability of immune cells resident in the lungs to respond to infections, increasing susceptibility to diseases such as influenza – said the author Farrah Kheradmand – Our results suggest the importance of doing further research on the solvents used in electronic cigarettes “.

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