Smoking E-Cigarettes Kills Mouth Cells, Study Suggests

Posted: Nov 20 2016, 11:52am CST | by , Updated: Nov 20 2016, 11:55am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Smoking E-Cigarettes Kills Mouth Cells, Study Suggests
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The death of mouth cells can increase the risk of gum disease and microbial infection

While e-cigarettes are considered a better alternate to standard tobacco cigarettes, very little is known about the health effects of this type of cigarette on users. However, researchers from Université Laval have found more evidence on potential harmful effects of electronic cigarettes.

Most of the mouth cells that are exposed to e-cigarette smoke become susceptible to damage and even death. And lack of mouth cells means user is at an increasing risk of developing infection, inflammation and gum disease.

“Mouth epithelium is body’s first line of defense against microbial infection. This epithelium protects us against several microorganisms living in our mouths.”Lead study researcher Dr. Mahmoud Rouabhia said.

To observe what happens in a person’s mouth while vaping, researchers carried out an experiment in lab conditions. They placed epithelium cells in a small chamber containing human saliva-like liquid. Then, e-cigarette vapor was pumped into the chamber twice for 15 minutes a day.

Microscopic analysis showed that e-cigarette smoking killed a number of simulated cells and the percentage of dying cells continues to rise with the exposure to e-cigarette vapor each passing day. On day three, the percentage of dead cells reached to 53%, which was considerably higher than the first day exposure to vaping. 

“Contrary to what one might think, e-cigarette vapor isn’t just water. Although it does not contain tar compounds like regular cigarette smoke, it exposes mouth tissues and the respiratory tract to compounds produced by heating the vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, and nicotine aromas in e-cigarette liquid.” Dr. Rouabhia explained. 

The use of e-cigarette is increasing worldwide. In United States, most of e-cigarette users are middle and high school users, which are likely unaware of the potential detrimental effects of e-cigarette smoking.

Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine and there is a growing evidence to show that nicotine might harm the development of brain and causes addiction. The latest study provides further evidence of e-cigarette smoking harm.

“Damage to the defensive barrier in the mouth can increase the risk of infection, inflammation and gum disease,” said Dr. Rouabhia. “Over the long term, it may also increase the risk of cancer. This is what we will be investigating in the future.”

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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