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Vaping dangerous for elderly due to higher pneumonia risk: Study

09 February 2018

Vaping is dangerous for the elderly due to the higher  risk of deadly pneumonia, according to new research.

Researchers have found in a study that vapour from electronic cigarettes could be as bad as traditional tobacco or even vehicle exhaust at making harmful bacteria stick to the airways, which increases chances of the inflammatory lung condition.

As per tests conducted at Queen Mary University of London, on both humans and mice, the effect was present in both nicotine and non-nicotine e-cigarettes.

The researchers studied the effects of vaping on a molecule produced by the cells lining the airways called PAFR (platelet-activating factor receptor), which, as per earlier research, was shown to help bugs stick to the nose, throat and lungs.

The team studied the cells lining the nose of 17 regular e-cigarette users for one hour following vaping, and found the tripling of PAFR levels as against normal levels.

The team suggests that people, who run a high risk of contracting pneumonia consider using nicotine patches or gum as alternative means of giving up traditional cigarettes.

The study included experiments in vitro with human cells, and in vivo with mice and human subjects and in both the in vitro cell tests as also the human studies, the researchers found three-fold elevation of PAFR levels on airway cells.

When the researchers later introduced pneumococcal bacteria to the airways of PAFR-elevated mice, a higher volume of bacteria was found to stick to the respiratory tract of the animals.

"Together, these results suggest that vaping makes the airways more vulnerable to bacteria sticking to airway lining cells," says lead researcher Jonathan Grigg.

"If this occurs when a vaper gets exposed to the pneumococcal bacterium, this could increase the risk of infection."

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