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E-Cigarettes Less Harm To The Respiratory System Than Cigarettes

author-icon Suorin Team date-icon Oct 8, 2022


On October 8, the research team of Pharmacy of Sun Yat-sen University published a paper in the global core journal of toxicology "ARCHIVES OF TOXICOLOGY". It said that under the same nicotine dose, e-cigarette aerosol is less harmful to the respiratory system than the smoke of wrapped cigarettes.


Figure: Paper published in Toxicology SCI Journal "Archives of Toxicology"

The impacts of e-cigarettes and wrapped ones on health have been a heated discussion in the field of public health in recent years. In this study, the research team compared the similarities and differences in the effects of combustible cigarettes and e-cigarettes on mouse lung function, inflammatory factors, and protein expression under the same nicotine content. It is the first time have a research team to do that, filling the scientific research gap in related fields

The research used the RELX watermelon-flavored vapes and a commercially available cigarette. They randomly divided 32 mice into 4 groups and create different existing environments.

  • Exposed to clean air
  • Low-dose e-cigarette aerosol
  • High-dose e-cigarette aerosol
  • Cigarette smoke

They all live for 10 weeks in their environment. Then listed a number of indicators to analyze.

By the lung coefficient of the mice, the team gets the differences from the lung histopathological section

  • The mice exposed to cigarettes were significantly increased, and the shape of the trachea was changed. And it is suggested that the respiratory system may have lesions.  In contrast, no significant change was detected in the lung coefficient in mice exposed to e-cigarettes. There is no change in tracheal morphology as well.
  • The lung function test revealed cigarette exposure caused significant abnormalities in multiple lung function indicators in mice. But there is only one indicator decrease in the e-cigarette group. Pathological results showed that both combustible cigarettes and e-cigarettes may cause abnormalities in the lungs. But the damage caused by cigarettes was more obvious.

Serum inflammatory factor detection and transmission electron microscopy found that both combustible cigarettes and electronic cigarettes caused airway inflammation. However, combustible cigarettes will be more harmful. Even at twice the nicotine content of cigarettes, e-cigarettes caused less pathological damage to the trachea.


Figure: Custom animal experiment equipment used

What's more, the team also do the proteomic analysis of mouse lung tissue. And it showed that the differential protein changes caused by cigarettes were more concentrated in inflammation-related pathways. But the abnormal expression of e-cigarettes was less and had less impact on inflammatory signaling pathways.

Exposure to larger inhaled doses of both combustible cigarettes and e-cigarettes is harmful to the respiratory system, revealed the research. Under the same nicotine dose, e-cigarette aerosol is less harmful to the respiratory system. E-cigarettes, burn nothing. It does not produce tar and is generally regarded as a harm-reducing alternative by the medical community. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) clearly states on its official website that switching from cigarettes. Or other combustible tobacco products to e-cigarettes may have potential benefits for non-pregnant adult smokers.

Research on e-cigarettes, however, is still insufficient due to their relatively short history. In recent years, many scientific research institutions and public health organizations have focused on the potential impact of e-cigarettes.

In January 2022, researchers from the U.S. FDA released a paper "Tobacco Control". It put forward that cigarettes are less harmful than combustible cigarettes. Those switching to e-cigarettes have been detected with less variety of carcinogens in their urine, which drops of up to 95%.

In September 2022, the British Department of Health and Social Care released the "Eighth Independent Report on Nicotine E-cigarette Research". It shows that e-cigarettes can significantly lower exposure to harmful substances. And it can greatly reduce exposure to biomarkers associated with cancer, respiratory and cardiovascular disease risks.

This study comprehensively and systematically analyzed the relative safety of e-cigarettes at the animal level, said the research team of Sun Yat-sen University. They hope to conduct more clinical studies to objectively and further evaluate the long-term effects of e-cigarettes.


Above all, we can know that e-cigarettes is safer than cigarettes. It can be a great cigarette replacement. So if you want to quit smoking or have a healthier life, you can buy an e-cigarette kit as a cigarette alternative.

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