New research shows the extent of changes e-cigarettes can cause in the lungs. The changes also include alteration of gene and protein levels in the mouse tissue models. Therefore, the findings prove that e-cigarettes may not be a safer alternative to regular cigarettes. However, further investigation is needed to understand the molecular effects.
For this research, all the models were tested using JUUL (smoking alternative) and the changes were evident in all of them.
Carolyn Baglole, the corresponding author said,
The researchers conducted the research on mice divided into three groups. One experimental group and two control groups. The control group mice were exposed to normal room air or control vapour liquid. Whereas the experimental group was exposed to JUUL smoke every day for four weeks. This was done to replicate human exposure. After the study period, the markers of inflammation and genetic damage were tested. It was done to identify differences between the groups.
After four weeks, mice exposed to JUUL showed drastically more lymphocytes and neutrophils in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Moreover, mRNA expression also showed changes. In addition, further analysis depicted changes in multiple biological pathways as well. This suggested that e-cigarettes actively made cellular and molecular changes within the lungs.
However, since the study was done on mice, it does not apply to humans. But despite that, the research suggests e-cigarettes are not inert and make strong chemical changes. Moreover, the length of the study was short, which makes it difficult to understand the long-term effects.
The findings suggest that more research is required on e-cigarettes and what effects they have potentially.