No long term effects of inhaled nicotine after testing it on rats
Vaping is becoming increasingly popular among former smokers but at the same time, it sparks a lot of controversy due to the lack of solid evidence on the long-term effects e-cigarettes might have on our bodies and general health. While generally advertised as much safer alternative to smoking, considering the ingredients in e-liquid and the fact that there’s no combustion to release carcinogens, the truth is that we are still unaware if these devices have some or any side effects if used constantly for years in a row.
Vegetable Glycerin and Propylene Glycol are commonly used in other pharmaceutical products or cosmetics and are generally regarded as safe, but a more recent experiment comes to show that the other constituent of e-juices – nicotine – doesn’t have negative effects on the lungs when being inhaled – at least not in rats.
A group of scientists reported the long-term effects exhibited on rats from inhalation of nicotine. The experiment involved placing the rodents in a chamber that gave them nicotine for twenty hours a day, five days a week, over a two-year period. The chamber that was filled with nicotine had twice the amount of plasma found in heavy smokers.
According to the study, the scientists could not find any increase in mortality, in atherosclerosis or frequency of tumors in the rats with comparison with a control group. Furthermore, there were no microscopic or macroscopic lung tumors, nor any increase in pulmonary neuroendocrine cells. The study, however, included that the total body weight of the rats that were exposed to the nicotine was noticeably reduced.
Rats’ physiology is not as different form humans as you might expect. They are susceptible to the same diseases and their body chemistry works very much in the same way. In addition, rats don’t live as long as humans, so long term studies don’t have to last decades.
The obvious conclusion from the study was that the scientist did not indicate any harmful effect of nicotine ‘when given in its pure form by inhalation.’
This also comes to fight off another point of view that e-cigarette opponents are constantly referring to when debating. It has been scientifically proven that the only thing bad about the second hand vapor coming from e-cigarettes is represented by small traces of nicotine. Since nicotine is a drug and it’s related to some smoking caused illnesses, people were afraid that this substance alone was extremely harmful when inhaled by non-smoking bystanders.
But corroborating the results of the study on rats and the other scientific data we have so far, we can conclude that there’s no risk of tumors or other life threatening illnesses from inhaling nicotine alone. With new studies taking place as we speak, there’s a slight chance that science might shed some light on the fierce debate on the general safety of electronic cigarettes and their harmless vapor.