Vaping: Dr Sara discusses risk of 'popcorn lung'
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The results from the research suggest that vaping causes as much damage to the blood vessels as smoking tobacco.
Should these vessels become damaged, it makes it harder for oxygen to flow around the body and for the cardiovascular system to function properly.
The findings come as a result of studies carried out by researchers from the University of California and published in the Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology journal.
What was also discovered during the course of the research was the impact of both smoking and vaping on the body’s endothelial function.
The endothelial is a thin membrane of cells that lines the inside of the heart and blood cell vessels. If endothelial cells become inflamed, this can make it harder for oxygen to travel around the body.
Vaping and smoking both affect the ability of the body to do this. Furthermore, endothelial cells help maintain body fluidity, regulate blood flow, and control vessel-wall permeability.
If these cells become damaged it can lead to cardiac and vascular health issues including hypertension and coronary heart disease.
When studying the blood vessel damage occurring as a result of both acts, the scientists also found something remarkable.
Rather than being caused by a specific component, the scientists said the damage was caused by airway irritation; this irritation triggered biological signals in the vagus nerve.
Subsequently, this is responsible for involuntary internal organ functions, which leads to blood vessel damage.
As to how it leads to said blood vessel damage, scientists do not as yet know.
Speaking about the research, Dr Matthew Springer said: “We were surprised to find that there was not a single component that you could remove to stop the damaging effect of smoke or vapours on the blood vessels.”
Alongside discovering how much damage vaping does the cardiovascular system, the researchers concluded that both vaping and smoking created a double threat.
On this Dr Springer said: “These findings suggest that using the two products together, as many people do, could increase their health risks compared to using them individually.
“Smoking and vaping can have similar harmful cardiovascular effects, but each condition causes some potential harmful effects that the other does not
“These differences indicate that dual product use, meaning smoking combustible cigarettes and also using e-cigarette products, may actually be worse for vascular health than either smoking or vaping alone.”
While a major finding, this is not the first time vaping has been found to cause harm to the body.
A report published in 2019 found that their use increased a person’s risk of developing long term long conditions such as emphysema, bronchitis, and asthma.
The authors concluded: “Use of e-cigarettes is an independent risk factor for respiratory disease in addition to combustible tobacco smoking. Dual use, the most common use pattern, is riskier than using either product alone.”
As a result, the study came to a similar conclusion to the two published this year, that vaping is not risk free.
While safer than smoking, and a stepping stone to quitting, the studies suggest it is a stone best stepped on briefly or avoided altogether.
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