Vaping does not increase the risk of contracting pneumonia like combustible tobacco does, according to a new study
Researchers at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette infected mice with a pneumonia strain that commonly affects young children and over-65s.
The mice were then exposed to either cigarette smoke, e-cigarette vapour with nicotine, e-cigarette vapour without nicotine or nothing.
The cigarette smoke affected the expression of more than 1,000 genes, which made the rodents much more susceptible to lung infection.
However, the e-cigarette vapour with nicotine only switched on 264 genes and the nicotine-free vapour just 14.
This means that the cigarette vapour had no impact on the likelihood of a gene to cause infection.
Dr Ritwij Kulkarni, assistant professor of immunology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, said:
“Interestingly, neither nicotine containing nor nicotine free e-cigarette vapor altered the ability of pneumococci to cause lung infection in a mouse model of infection.”
“Our work is part of a long series of observations coming from a number of research labs trying to define what effects e-cigarette vapor exposure may have on human health, and to differentiate between the effects of flavoring chemicals and nicotine.”
Pneumonia accounts for 29,000 UK deaths each year – the third greatest cause of death from lung disease after COPD and lung cancer.
In the US, the condition causes 50,000 deaths.
The report said:
“Exposure to cigarette smoke is a key risk factor for pneumonia because it affects the physiology and immune responses of the respiratory tract and augments the virulence of pathogens colonizing the nasopharyngeal mucosa.”