Health

Are E-cigarette Users at Greater Risk of Poor Immune Response to Flu, COVID?

In a controlled study of smokers, nonsmokers, and e-cigarette users, University of North Carolina School of Medicine researchers found that e-cigarette users exhibited significantly altered immune responses to a model of influenza virus infection, suggesting increased susceptibility to disease.

cdc-3_OGgbdPIdA-unsplash

In a controlled study of smokers, nonsmokers, and e-cigarette users, University of North Carolina School of Medicine researchers found that e-cigarette users exhibited significantly altered immune responses to a model of influenza virus infection, suggesting increased susceptibility to disease.

The findings, published in the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, show that vaping changes the expression of genes and production of proteins in respiratory cells, as well as altering virus-specific antibody production.

“In many of the study participants, we observed more changes to the immune response in e-cigarette users than we did in smokers,” said first author Meghan Rebuli, PhD, assistant professor in the UNC Department of Pediatrics and member of the UNC Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma, and Lung Biology. “All of these factors have the potential to adversely affect response to a virus and immunity post-infection. While we used influenza as a model, this suggests that e-cigarette users are likely more susceptible to respiratory viruses than are non-smokers, and this likely includes SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).”

The main reason to avoid smoking is the risk of cancer, heart disease, emphysema, stroke, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, and other lung diseases. For these reasons, researchers also have been studying the potential effects of electronic cigarettes, which are composed of thousands of chemicals many of which are FDA-approved for ingestion, but not inhalation.

Source