Smoking e-cigarettes may be just as harmful as smoking standard tobacco, and may even be damaging the body in “unique” ways.
That’s according to a study from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
Researchers reached this conclusion after comparing saliva samples from smokers, non-smokers and e-cigarette smokers.
Levels of protein linked to serious lung conditions were found in the saliva of the e-cigarette smokers group. The suggestion now is that vaping could potentially trigger inflammatory lung disease and asthma as well as conditions like lupus and psoriasis.
Dr Mehmet Kesimer, lead author on the study, said: “There is confusion about whether e-cigarettes are “safer” than cigarettes because the potential adverse effects of e-cigarettes are only beginning to be studied.
“Our results suggest that e-cigarettes might be just as bad as cigarettes.”
“Our data shows that e-cigarettes have a signature of harm in the lung that is both similar and unique, which challenges the concept that switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes is a healthier alternative.”
A Public Health England review previously stated that e-cigarettes were 95 per cent less harmful than normal cigarettes.
The NHS also notes that, while experts don’t have the full picture when it comes to e-cigarette use, they still carry a fraction of the risks associated with cigarettes.
It’s estimated that around 2.9 million people have switched to e-cigarettes since they first emerged on the market, with the UK now boasting the second lowest smoking rate in the entire European Union.