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Health Effects and Irritants Studies

Contrasting two recent research papers that investigated the health effects of vaping and the potential exposure to irritants.

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Doctor Robert Cranfield is an Emergency Medicine specialist in Madison, Tennessee. During his 37-year career he has moved into general practice, but also finds time to complete research into topics of interest, the health effects of ecigs in this case. Our second study is from the University of Rochester, where researchers looked at inflammatory and oxidative responses to electronic cigarette vapour.

Cranfield’s paper was published by MDPI, and aimed to assess the demographics of people who switch from smoking to vaping. The study also sought to assess the health effects on those who have been vaping for three or more years – in order to address the longstanding complaint that we don’t have any long-term studies.

Critics of his work will immediately flag up that he obtained his data through the use of anonymous surveys, but he also conducted paper-based interviews with local vapers. He obtained responses from 573 people in total.

Surprising anybody who would expect an American doctor to be anti-vaping, Cranfield said: “E-cigarette users with 3 or more years of use were found to have a 96% reduction in reported adverse health events after initiation use, and a resolution of 61.8% of the measured existing health problems that developed while smoking.”

Interestingly, although nobody recommends that non-smokers should ever start vaping, he added: “Never smokers who started use of electronic cigarettes developed no health problems.”

Hopefully Cranfield’s conclusion will reverberate through his medical community: “Electronic cigarettes have a dramatic and positive effect on the health of those who are able to switch from cigarettes. This can have a tremendous social and economic impact if their use becomes wide spread as a substitute for cigarettes.”

Conversely, the University of Rochester team set about doing their investigation in a very scientific way, because “the respiratory health effects of inhalation exposure to e-cigarette flavouring chemicals are not well understood.”

What they found is, in all likelihood, pretty useless for deciding if there vapour produces an inflammatory and oxidative response. The academics produced cell cultures and exposed them to various liquid concentrations of diacetyl, cinnamaldehyde, acetoin, pentanedione, o-vanillin, maltol and coumarin.

They write: “Our data suggest that the flavourings used in e-juices can trigger an inflammatory response in [cells], providing insights into potential pulmonary toxicity and tissue damage in e-cigarette users.”

In reality, their data illustrated that coating cell cultures with toxins isn’t good for them and bears no relation to vaping, standing in stark contrast to the experience of vapers the world over, and the participants of Doctor Robert Cranfield’s work. If we are to learn more about the impact of vape on the human body then it will take more refined work than that carried out at the University of Rochester.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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