Bad News, Quitters: Electronic Cigarettes Harm The Lungs

Dusten Carlson

Attention smokers: If you're looking to quit and are perusing various alternatives and smoking-cessation aids, you might want to look past the recent wave of electronic cigarettes (or e-cigarettes). Turns out, these are damaging to your lungs as well.

Though electronic cigarettes may seem like an appealing and healthy alternative to tobacco products, they actually do cause damage to the lungs, according to scientists from the University of Athens, Greece. On Sunday, at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress 2012 in Vienna, Professor Christina Gratziou and team revealed their discoveries regarding a study to determine what the short-term effects of e-cigarette use might be on different individuals, including those with no known health problems and existing smokers with and without lung conditions.

They found that the use of e-cigarettes causes an instant increase in airway resistance that lasts for 10 minutes in a majority of participants. A significant increase was found in non-smokers, regular smokers, and COPD and asthma patients. Professor Christina Gratziou (via Medical News Today) said this:

"We do not yet know whether unapproved nicotine delivery products, such as e-cigarettes, are safer than normal cigarettes, despite marketing claims that they are less harmful. This research helps us to understand how these products could be potentially harmful," said Professor Gratziou. "We found an immediate rise in airway resistance in our group of participants, which suggests e-cigarettes can cause immediate harm after smoking the device. More research is needed to understand whether this harm also has lasting effects in the long-term. The ERS recommends following effective smoking cessation treatment guidelines based on clinical evidence which do not advocate the use of such products."