In the past, anti-vaping campaigners have produced results from petri dish culture studies indicating that vaping leads to an increased susceptibility to respiratory tract infections, attacking the windpipe and lungs. These studies have drawn widespread criticism due to their methodology as they fail to replicate normal vaping conditions. Frequently, cell damage was caused by concentrations far in excess of normal vaping conditions.
Professor Peter Hajek, the lead researcher, said: “There is no doubt that e-cigarettes are much safer than conventional cigarettes, but smokers are still led to believe that they’re dangerous. This misinformation includes a misreported study on rats that claimed that vaping may increase vulnerability to infections. These new findings from human vapers show that this is not the case.”
The team conducted an online survey where 941 subjects reported subjective changes to their respiratory symptoms. The results showed that 66% of those taking part felt their health and lung function had improved as a result of switching from tobacco to electronic cigarettes. Twenty-nine percent thought they had experienced no change, while just 5% considered their condition had worsened.
Hajek continued: “The study needs to be interpreted with caution because it is based on self-reported data, and further studies using objective measures are needed. However, the present results provide sufficient information to suggest that vaping does not increase infection rates and may in fact lead to a decrease in infections.”
The team noted that their results mirrored those found in previous human trials, which reported no significant adverse respiratory effects resulting from e-cigarette use. In fact, long-term studies covering a one and a half year span, and a study of smokers with asthma who switched to vaping found significant improvements.
The report notes that their findings could be skewed: “Another potential problem is that smokers who experience adverse effects when vaping could be expected to stop using e-cigarettes and so would not be in the sample.” In the real world people tend to stop doing things they don’t find pleasurable. It is possible people who found they were suffering more from vaping simply returned to smoking or quit altogether.
By the same token, relying on people to self-report means: “That some respondents may have been still smoking, or may have been vaping for less than two months, although if this were the case, it would make the results more rather than less conservative.”
Despite Hajek stating the report provides sufficient information to suggest that vaping does not increase infection rates it is unlikely to be welcomed by those campaigning for tighter ecig restrictions.