`Toxic` e-cigarette boosts superbugs, weakens immune system

Washington: The debate over the safety of e-cigarettes has taken another turn after a new study has revealed that vaping boosts superbugs and dampens the immune system.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System report data suggesting that e-cigarettes are toxic to human airway cells, suppress immune defenses and alter inflammation, while at the same time boosting bacterial virulence.

The mouse study shows that e-cigarette vapor is not benign at high doses it can directly kill lung cells, which is frightening, said senior author Laura E. Crotty Alexander, adding that this work confirms that inhalation of e-cigarette vapor daily leads to changes in the inflammatory milieu inside the airways.

E-cigarette vapor extract-exposed bacteria were also more virulent in a mouse model of pneumonia. All mice infected with normal methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), an antibiotic-resistant “superbug,” survived. Meanwhile, 25 percent of mice infected with MRSA pre-exposed to e-cigarette vapor died.

The results were consistent with e-liquids from seven different manufacturers, demonstrating that the findings are not limited to one formula or brand.

Crotty Alexander and team also recently reported that MRSA bacteria exposed to conventional cigarette smoke are more resistant to killing by the immune system than unexposed bacteria.

The study is published by the Journal of Molecular Medicine. (ANI)