E-cigarette vaping harms mucus clearance, study suggests
Updated: June 8, 2019 09:54 am
A new study highlights that e-cigarette vaping hampers the cleaning of mucus from the airways. The study published in the Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine also stated that a single session of vaping can deliver more nicotine to the airways than smoking one cigarette. Researchers report that exposing human airway cells to e-cigarette vapour containing nicotine in culture resulted in a decreased ability to move mucus or phlegm across the surface. This phenomenon is called "mucociliary dysfunction." Mucociliary dysfunction is a feature of many lung diseases, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cystic fibrosis. "This study grew out of our team's research on the influence of tobacco smoke on mucus clearance from the airways," said senior author Matthias Salathe, University of Kansas Medical Center. Salathe added, "The question was whether vape containing nicotine had negative effects on the ability to clear secretions from the airways similar to tobacco smoke." Specifically, the study found that vaping with nicotine impairs ciliary beat frequency, dehydrates airway fluid and makes mucus more viscous or sticky. These changes make it more difficult for the bronchi, the main passageways to the lung, to defend themselves from infection and injury. The researchers note that a recent report found that young e-cigarette users who never smoked were at increased risk to develop chronic bronchitis, a condition characterized by chronic production of phlegm that is also seen in tobacco smokers. The study also found that nicotine produced these negative effects by stimulating the ion channel transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1). Blocking TRPA1 reduced the effects of nicotine on clearance in both the human cells in culture and in the sheep. "Vaping with nicotine is not harmless as commonly assumed by those who start vaping, At the very least, it increases the risk of chronic bronchitis." Dr Salathe said.