E-cigarettes have been plagued by controversy in recent years. And a new report, published in the open-access journal Respiratory Research, could add leverage to the debate. Scientists have previously found that smoking-related diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma, are linked to specific bacteria. E-cigarettes, on the other hand, have a similar effect on these bacteria than traditional cigarettes.
Effects of cigarette smoke (CSE) and e-cigarette vapor (ECVE) on biofilms. Photo: Respiratory Research
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E-cigarettes are electronic products that mimic traditional tobacco. It has the same appearance, smoke, taste, and even the feeling of the smoker is not too great.
It is usually filled with nicotine solution of the pipe, evaporation device and battery three parts, through atomization and other means, e-cigarettes, such as nicotine into steam, and then by the user to smoke.
E-cigarettes are popular after increased efforts to control tobacco in many countries. Because it is considered a safer alternative to traditional tobacco, it is considered a reliable “stop-smoking” because it contains no harmful ingredients such as tar and aerosols.
However, the properties and safety of e-cigarettes have been controversial. At present, the United States, South Korea and other countries define e-cigarettes as tobacco products, Austria, Canada, the United Kingdom and other countries to e-cigarettes as pharmaceutical products, Italy, Russia and so on to define them as ordinary consumer goods. At the same time, as early as 2013, German researchers studied and analyzed e-cigarettes and found that e-cigarettes contain high levels of propylene glycol, which can cause respiratory irritation and lead to some acute symptoms, which may be more harmful than traditional cigarettes. Since then, studies have repeatedly suggested that long-term use of e-cigarettes may also lead to a reliance on nicotine.
Increases the harmfulness of lung pathogenic bacteria
Acute lung disease may be associated with the use of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes, according to a new report. The team, from Queen’s College of Pharmacy in Belfast, UK, detailed the effects of cigarette smoke and e-cigarette vapor on bacteria known to be linked to long-term lung disease linked to smoking.
The researchers cultured Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus and chlorella chlorella in cigarette smoke extracts or e-cigarette vapor extracts. The control group was cultured in an environment free of cigarette smoke and e-cigarette vapor extract.
The researchers found that exposure to cigarette smoke or e-cigarette vapor extract did not appear to have a negative effect on the growth of these bacteria. But exposure to these extracts increased biofilm formation of these bacteria, and the effect did not appear in the unexposed control group. Biofilm is an polymer of one or more types of microorganisms, and the increase in biofilms is known to be a process in many different types of microbial infections.
The findings may suggest that cigarette smoke and e-cigarette vapor increase the harmfulness of common lung pathogens and contribute to the formation of stubborn infections.
To assess how harmful bacteria are when exposed to cigarette smoke or e-cigarette vapor extracts , or disease-causing changes, the researchers infected the larvae of large wax slugs, a model organism of human infection, to test the effects of bacterial infections on larvae survival. The survival rate of large wax cobs infected with bacteria exposed to cigarette smoke or e-cigarette vapor extract decreased compared to large wax cocoons infected with the bacteria in the control group.
In a further experiment, the team showed cases in which bacteria infected human lung cells when exposed to cigarette smoke extracts or e-cigarette vapor extracts, and found that these cells secreted an increase in the amount of leukocyte interleukin-8, an important factor associated with inflammation.
Every mouthful of smoke is bigger?
“A recurring theme of this study is the exposure of cigarette smoke and e-cigarette vapor, which have similar effects on bacterial behavior and pathogenicity,” said Dr. Derdri Kilpin, a communications author of the study. These findings suggest that e-cigarettes may have a similar effect on common lung pathogenic bacteria or are similar to cigarettes. “
The researchers cautioned that cigarette smoke and e-cigarette vapor extracts used in the experiment were prepared in a similar way and therefore may not reflect the difference in nicotine exposure between smoking and e-cigarette smoking.
“E-cigarette users have a larger, longer breath per cigarette and may increase nicotine intake than traditional smokers,” Kilpin said. Our model may therefore underestimate the nicotine exposure of respiratory bacteria in e-cigarette vapor. “
In the study, the researchers used a common brand of e-cigarettes with no additional flavor, and bacteria were exposed only once in smoke and steam extracts. They believe that further research is needed to investigate the effects of scented substances and long-term exposure in e-cigarettes.