A new research about tobacco smoke and e-cig vapor shows that there are big differences in the way human heart cells respond to the different kinds of smoke. The University of Bristol proved that heart cells do not show stress response to e-cigarette vapor while they do when being confronted with tobacco smoke.
The initial position for the researchers from the Medical Research Council Integrative Epidemiology Unit (MRC IEU) at the University of Bristol was to investigate the exposure of human heart cells, that can be found in the arteries of human hearts, with different types of smoke.
A meaningful vape research
In the vape research, the cigarette smoke extract was created from a normal cigarette. The smoke extract was extracted from an e-cigarette aerosol. After this process, both types of smoke were passed through the heart cells to analyze the behavior and changes of them afterwards. The research team found the cells showed a stress response from the cigarette smoke extract. But there was no similar response from the e-cig extract. Professor Munafò who was part of this research team mentioned, that it “may be able to reduce immediate tobacco-related harm by switching from conventional cigarettes to e-cigarettes.”
Limitations of the vape study
Although this sounds like good news for everybody who is trying to quit smoking with the aid of vaping, the research team mentions the following limitations of their study:
There are some limitations to this study that should be considered. First, we investigated a single e-cigarette product, a single cell line, and a limited number of outcomes. Therefore, our results should be considered preliminary, and their generalizability tested in future studies across a range of products, fluids, device settings, cell lines, and outcomes. Second, our puffing protocols were not designed to directly mimic real-world smoking or vaping, but to standardise nicotine exposure. Future work should apply protocols that mimic real-world behaviour. Third, the constant flow rate used to produce CSE means that spikes in combustion temperature will have been minimal. These spikes, generated by puffing, generate large yields of combustion products, meaning the effects of CSE we observed may, in fact, be conservative. Fourth, we only examined the effects of CSE and eCAE separately. Given that dual-use of conventional cigarettes and e-cigarettes is common, future models should test different combinations of exposure.
Besides those limitations the research team mentions more aspects, that should be considered. While it is normal that studies cannot simply cover a topic from every angle we’d like to point out that this should always be kept in mind when thinking about health risks. The full research paper can be found here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0376871616300473