Groundbreaking study shows ‘no deterioration in lung health’ after several years of vaping
After extensive research involving non-smoking vapers over a period of 3.5 years, scientists now claim that long-term vaping is safe for the lungs and respiratory system. The research team consists of a collaborative group of international scientists from the University of California-Los Angeles and the University of Catania, Italy. Led by Dr. Riccardo Polosa, the scientists monitored the respiratory, coronary, pulmonary, and circulatory systems of a group of younger vapers.
As a basis for comparison, the researchers also followed the vital signs of a group of never smokers/never vapers. What the research team discovered is that the long-term vaping group exhibited no measurable signs of deterioration in lung health. Perhaps even more significant, the test results of both groups were virtually indistinguishable even after nearly four years of data collection. Examples of vital signs and biomarkers measured include:
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure (BP)
- Body weight
- Lung and respiratory functions
- Nitric acid levels in exhaled breath
- Carbon monoxide in exhaled breath
- High-resolution HRCT scans of the lungs and respiratory system
- Possible damage caused by:
- Lipoid Pneumonia
- Bronchiolitis Obliterans (“Popcorn Lung”)
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- And several other respiratory disorders
Due to the extensive time commitment required, Polosa and his team focused on a small group of younger participants with an average age of 29.7 years. Over the course of the project, several dropped out while others were rejected for failing to meet the study’s strict guidelines. By the end of the 3.5-year study, only nine vapers remained, six of which were still vaping nicotine-enhanced e-liquids. Meanwhile, the control group of non-vapers consisted of twelve final subjects.
“In a small sample of young-adult never-smoking, daily EC users who were carefully followed for approximately 3½ years, we found no decrements in spirometric indices, development of respiratory symptoms, changes in markers of lung inflammation in exhaled air or findings of early lung damage on HRCT, when compared with a carefully matched group of never-smoking non-EC users. Even the heaviest EC users failed to exhibit any evidence of emerging lung injury as reflected in these physiologic, clinical or inflammatory measures. Moreover, no changes were noted in blood pressure or heart rate. Since the EC users who we studied were never smokers, potential confounding by inhalation of combustion products of tobacco were obviated.”
All findings of the Polosa study Health impact of E-cigarettes: a prospective 3.5-year study of regular daily users who have never smoked are located on the medical journal Nature. Due to both sample groups being relatively small for such an important area of e-cig research, the scientists acknowledge the need for further study. They also admit that more research is needed regarding the potential dangers of e-liquid flavorings. A specific mentioning regarding the known health risks associated with of diacetyl also adds validity to the co-authors’ findings.
“Flavorings in the e-liquid are generally considered safe to eat, but have largely unknown effects on the lung when heated and inhaled. Chronic exposure to high levels of diacetyl - a flavoring substance commonly used in the food industry for its appealing buttery aroma - in microwave popcorn workers has been shown to be associated with cases of bronchiolitis obliterans (popcorn lung).”
Vaping prohibitionists often claim that further research is needed before they can endorse vaping as a smoking cessation tool. However, they simultaneously fail to mention to the American Public that vaping is significantly healthier than smoking. Based on the results of this study, this attempt by public health officials to promote vaping abstinence appears misguided.