Researchers have found that e-cigarette smokers show suppression of immune genes critical to combat infections.
A study had shown that people who caped somehow have more changes in the genes that fight off viruses than people who are not smokers.
E-cigarettes had modified the immune responses to fight influenza viruses, University of North Caroline (UNC) at Chapel Hill researchers found.
Since flu season is approaching, combining with the COVID-19 pandemic, the news is worrisome for a lot of people.
In the past decade, e-cigarettes have become somewhat of an alternative for the people that smoke, especially amongst the youth.
Researchers were concerned and tried finding out the effects of e-cigarettes and what it does to our body since COVID-19 also is heavily respiratory-related.
“There’s been a lot of questions in the field as to whether e-cigarette and cigarette use is beneficial or damaging or problematic in terms of Covid-19 and we really haven’t had a good answer,” Meghan Rebuli, an assistant professor in the UNC department of pediatrics, said.
Comparing to non-users, e-cigarette smokers have more changes in the immune genes in their respiratory cells that get rid of viruses, adding that they showed a suppressed level of antibodies.
The study, even shows that this change is more significant in the people that smoke e-cigarettes than traditional smokers.
The findings, which compared e-cigarette users to cigarette smokers and non-smokers, were published in the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology.
Vaping just as bad or worse than smoking, a study suggests.
“We don’t want to see any suppression of genes, proteins, and antibodies involved in an immune response,” she said. But that is exactly what they saw among those smoking both traditional and electronic cigarettes.
“E-cigarette use is not safe or safer than cigarettes, and that is a really important take-home message,” Rebuli said. “You probably shouldn’t be inhaling any kind of tobacco-related products; it all impairs your immune response to the viruses.”
Rebuli said this could be worrisome news for vaccine effectiveness among this population as well. These genes are also important for helping the body’s immune system recognize a virus that it has encountered before.
“Your body can recognize the virus and create kind of an immune memory … which prevents you from subsequent infection. That is how a vaccine works,” she said.
“The question here is if this is a 90 percent effective vaccine, is it going to be similarly effective in e-cig users, or are they going to have trouble generating that immune memory?” she added.
That is still unclear at this time, Rebuli said. Further studies are needed that look at Covid-19 specifically.
Source: South China Morning Post