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Effect of E-Cigarette Aerosols on Respiratory Epithelial Cells

Posted on July 29, 2015 by Vapor Widgets

Given the relative novelty and upsurge of e-cigarette products, scientists and researchers have been conducting countless studies to determine the associated risks and benefits of vaping. One such study was recently published in the Journal of Toxicology in Vitro. Funded by British American Tobacco and conducted using EpiAirway, technology developed by MatTek Corporation, scientists measured the viability of human-derived, 3D generated models of human airway tissue when exposed to traditional cigarette smoke, e-cigarette vapor aerosols, and normal air conditions. This study assessed the effect of cigarette smoke and vapor aerosols on human airway tissue.

The models of human airway tissue were exposed to cigarette smoke and vaping aerosols via a robotic inhalation exposure system known as VITROCELL. This exposure system is able to deliver intact aerosols to accurately mimic respiratory tract exposure. The EpiAirway models were cultured from donated human tracheal/bronchial cells.

After exposure to cigarette smoke for 6-hours, human respiratory epithelial cell viability decreased from 100% chance of survival to 12% - rendering them effectively dead. Using the same standard of measurement, compared to the normal air condition, after 6-hour exposure to e-cigarette vapor, human respiratory epithelial cells were virtually unaffected. Cell viability remained indistinguishable from the normal air condition, under every test condition, even when frequency and intensity of puff were drastically increased. Cigarette smoke, however, reduced cell viability by 90% under dose-dependent conditions when dosages were increased.

Representatives for British American Tobacco suggested that this study could be used to lay the groundwork standards for future testing and demonstrated that these e-cigarette aerosols proved to have no cytotoxic effect on human airway tissue.

The results of this study, at the very least, provides additional support to the contention that e-cigarettes and vaping are safer than smoking. While more studies are necessary to eliminate for any extraneous variables, another nail has been hammered into the coffin of traditional cigarettes.
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