Could water vapour from e-cigs collect in your lungs, and become a breeding ground for germs?
That’s the advice some health professionals are giving. And because of this, some smokers are still smoking, despite the fact Public Health England believes e-cigs are at least 95% safer than smoking.
Here’s a recent email I received:
Sorry to bother you, but I wonder could you give me some information, please? I have recently been diagnosed with COPD and, of course, been told to give up smoking.
When I asked the “Health Care Professional” about using e-cigs, she replied that despite recent findings that e-cigs were 95% less harmful than cigarettes, the inhalation of water vapour creates a pool of water on the floor of the lungs and is an ideal breeding ground for all sorts of “nasty germs”, and is therefore, subject to debate about the efficacy of using e-cigs.
I would welcome your observations on her comments and, indeed, any empirical evidence that you feel would be useful. Having been a smoker for more than 50 years, it would be difficult to stop and am looking for assurance that e-cigs would be able to provide the necessary stimulus that tobacco withdrawal would undoubtedly engender.
An Expert Opinion
Being a retailer, I can’t, of course give out health advice, so referred the person to Professor Riccardo Polosa.
Riccardo is an expert in respiratory medicine, clinical immunology, and tobacco addiction, Chief Scientific Advisor for Lega Italiana Anti Fumo (LIAF), the Italian Anti-Smoking League, and one of the world’s leading experts on e-cigarettes.
Here was his response:
“This is ridiculous! You would get more water vapour from a home nebulizer designed to deliver COPD medications than you would get from an electronic cigarette.”
“We’ve also examined the effects of regular electronic cigarette usage on people with COPD, and found that respiratory symptoms were never triggered by e-vapour; moreover, in these patients we have shown an overall improvement in both subjective and objective respiratory outcomes after switching from tobacco cigarettes to electronic cigarettes.”
“What’s more, PG in aerosol form is an effective antibacterial and antiviral agent that is likely to prevent infections of the respiratory tract. Ironically, far from creating an ideal condition for germs to multiply and spread, PG vaping could be a practical and safe way to prevent COPD exacerbations.”
Author:About James Dunworth
Main blogger at the Ashtray Blog, co-author of a University of Alberta study of “Electronic cigarettes as potential harm reduction products”, co-author of the book: “Electronic Cigarettes: What the Experts Say.” Works at ecigarettedirect.co.uk.