E-cigarette users have greater lung inflammation than cigarette smokers

Credit: CDC.

In a study from the University of Pennsylvania, scientists found that electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) users have greater lung inflammation than cigarette smokers and non-smokers.

This study is the first to provide evidence that vaping e-liquids with e-cigarettes creates a unique inflammatory response in the lungs that is different from cigarette smoking.

E-cigarette usage has increased dramatically in the past several years, particularly among adolescents and young adults.

While many people assume that e-cigarettes are safer than conventional cigarettes, e-cigarettes can cause pulmonary inflammation and increase the risk of lung disease.

In addition, their long-term safety has not been rigorously evaluated.

In the PET study, the team used a novel radiotracer, 18F-NOS, to compare lung inflammation between cigarette and e-cigarette users.

Although PET imaging with 18F-FDG has been used in the past to investigate inflammation in smokers and vapers, its conclusions were limited.

Study participants were divided into three age- and sex-matched groups: five e-cigarette users, five cigarette smokers, and five never-smoked/vaped controls.

18F-NOS PET was performed to quantify and compare lung inflammation.

The team found e-cigarette users showed greater pulmonary inflammation than cigarette smokers and never-smoked/vaped controls.

A positive association between pulmonary and peripheral measures of inflammation was also found, suggesting that e-cigarette use may increase pulmonary inflammation.

These findings provide patients with additional evidence about the potentially harmful effects of e-cigarette use on the lungs.

These findings suggest molecular imaging may be uniquely poised to detect and measure the potential harms associated with electronic cigarettes, which have been touted as a safer vehicle for nicotine compared to traditional combustible cigarettes.

If you care about lung health, please read studies about why Viagra may be useful in treating lung diseases, and scientists find an herbal supplement to treat lung cancer.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about gum disease linked to impaired lung function, and results showing  COVID-19 is not just a respiratory illness, it can cause strokes too.

The study was conducted by Reagan Wetherill et al and published in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

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