While vaping appears to be a much healthier alternative to tobacco, a recent study may tarnish this image. The research was organised by the Queen Mary University in London and published in the European Respiratory Journal. The focus is the impact of vaping on the respiratory system of senior e-cig enthusiasts.
Its main author, professor Jonathan Grigg, hypothesized that vape users, much like smokers, are particularly at risk. Specially when it comes to pulmonary infections. To demonstrate this, the research team studied the rate of platelet-derived growth factor receptors (PDGF-R) in habitual e-cig users. These cells, which layer respiratory airway tissues and render them sticky, which can cause accumulation of bacteria, which itself can cause pneumonia. It has been established that PDGF-R exist in higher rates in smokers. However no study has focused on these rates in vapers until now.
Grigg and his colleagues’ results, based on a sample of 17 senior citizen volunteers, showed the rates were 3 times higher after using a vaping device. The research team has therefore issued a warning for those susceptible to pulmonary infections.
Vaping and pulmonary infections: a controversial method
The objective of the study was to demonstrate that vaping enthusiasts are more susceptible to pulmonary infections, much like tobacco smokers. However, critics of the study, including professor Hajek (director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary University). He considered it “shameful” that there was no data comparison between the two groups. Hajek believes that the research method was deeply flawed, with a sample too small to extrapolate results. So this study is to be taken with a grain of salt.
Furthermore, for professor Openshaw (Imperial College London), vaping remains a great deal less dangerous for health than smoking tobacco. There needs to be more comparative research between e-cig and tobacco consumption. As mentioned by professor Openshaw, there are a great deal of studies demonstrating the benefits of vaping, with very few against it.