Once again, mice have had to suffer for humans’ weird habits. To make the unknown health effects of e-cigarettes a little less unknown, researchers at Johns Hopkins University exposed laboratory mice to e-cigarette vapor for two weeks. The mice suffered damage to their lungs and were more susceptible to the flu virus and the pneumonia bacterium. A couple mice died. Okay, great. So what does it mean?
It means that despite its lack of combustion products and tar, e-cigarette vapor is “not neutral in terms of the effects on the lungs.” The vapor was also shown to contain free radicals, which can damage DNA molecules and cause cell death. (Though there are a hundred times more free radicals in cigarette smoke.)
Of course, vaping may still prove to be a safer alternative to smoking, but with 125,000 teenagers in 2013 claiming to have tried e-cigarettes without having ever tried conventional cigarettes, it’s important to understand what the health risks are.
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