#CLOUDS: Can vaping cause damage to your lungs?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) require warnings on vaping products that contain nicotine and tobacco from 2018 onward.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that vaping is less harmful than smoking conventional cigarettes. But the CDC advise against e-cigarette use by young people, those who are pregnant, or adults who do not currently use tobacco.

Vaping products usually contain nicotine, a highly addictive drug, although they do not involve tobacco smoke inhalation. Some vaping products may also contain:

  • cancer-causing substances or carcinogens
  • toxic chemicals
  • toxic metal nanoparticles

The research on vaping and COPD

There is only limited research that has looked at vaping and COPD.

Vaping and lung inflammation

A small study published in 2016, reports that nicotine-containing vaping products trigger lung inflammation and lung tissue damage. COPD development is associated with these effects. Both cultured human lung cells and mice used in the study showed dependency on nicotine over the course of the research.

Vaping and oxidative stress

A 2017 study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, also reports negative findings. The study included 44 participants, a mixture of conventional cigarette smokers, e-cigarette users, and non-smokers.

Researchers discovered proteins in the airways of e-cigarette smokers that are known to contribute to COPD. All smokers in the study showed markers of oxidative stress associated with lung disease.

Vaping and DNA damage

Research published in January 2018 found that mice exposed to e-cigarette vapor displayed DNA damage in the lungs, bladder, and heart. This damage may increase their risk of cancer, heart disease, and lung problems.

The researchers added that it was possible that e-cigarette smoke may contribute to similar damage in humans.

COPD symptoms

COPD may cause tightness in the chest and wheezing.
COPD may cause tightness in the chest and wheezing.

COPD symptoms may not appear until the lungs have experienced significant damage.

Symptoms typically get worse over time, especially if people continue to smoke.

Symptoms include:

  • chest tightness
  • cough
  • fatigue
  • mucus or sputum that may be clear, white, green, or yellow
  • respiratory infections
  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing

Symptoms in later stages include:

  • blue lips or fingernail beds, known as cyanosis
  • swelling in the ankles, feet, or legs
  • weight loss

Breathing problems eventually make everyday tasks more difficult. They can be disabling in some cases.


About Indianspice Staff Reporter

Report and write stories for Indianspice.co.za. It is our ambitious goal to cover issues/events/news concerning South Africa and the diaspora.

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