While still widely unregulated, e-cigarettes have gained a certain popularity among smokers and non-smokers. The greatest presumed advantage in favor of vaping is that it won’t cause as much damage to your health as smoking traditional cigarettes would.
However, a new study featured in the American Journal of Physiology has compared the gene-expression profiles of non-smokers, vapers, and smokers, and found that the nasal mucosa of e-cigarette users had undergone immune-related gene expression similar to that present in smokers.
Researchers from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, noted that the findings do not imply that vaping is as damaging to one’s health as smoking would. Instead, the team wants to highlight that using e-cigarettes could have some yet unknown side effects.
Study author Ilona Jaspers, Ph.D., was quoted saying that “Despite the common perception that vaping e-cigarettes is a safe alternative to cigarettes, the data shown here demonstrate the need for further studies related to changes in respiratory immune health induced by vaping e-cigarettes.”
The gene expression of those who used e-cigarettes seemed to have been more severely altered than that of cigarette smokers. In addition, health problems were observed even in otherwise healthy participants.
According to the study, secondhand smoke exposure is a real threat, leading to increased susceptibility to microbial infections. It’s also possible to develop life-threatening infections, as smoking is associated with suppressed recruitment and activation of innate immune cells.
As a result, secondhand smoking could block these defense mechanisms, leaving the body vulnerable in the face of infections and various cancers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that no state in the Southeast has a comprehensive smoke-free law. More than a decade ago, the Surgeon General established that no level of secondhand smoke exposure is risk-free.
In light of these findings, concerned authorities had begun a lengthy process of protecting Americans from this plague, but there are still millions of citizens (especially in the Southeast) who are still exposed and unprotected from this preventable health hazard.
Smoke-free laws would considerably improve indoor air quality, prevent young people from adopting this damaging habit, help smokers quit, and reduce heart attack hospitalizations among non-smokers.
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