Vaping adversely impacts the human body, with different flavours yielding varying degrees of harm. Scientific research underscores the need for caution when using e-cigarettes.
A recent scientific study by researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine has revealed that e-cigarettes have harmful effects on health. The findings, published in the scientific journal eLife, suggest that daily vaping can impact vital organs such as the brain, heart, lungs, and colon. Moreover, e-cigarettes may also affect the ability of these organs to respond to infections, including the SARS-CoV-2 infection.
To conduct the study, the researchers tested JUUL's products in the two most popular flavours: mint and mango. They exposed mice to the vapour, administered to them three times a day for three months. The results showed that e-cigarette exposure adversely affected the mice's health, including lung inflammation, changes in DNA repair, and weaker immune responses.
Brain most vulnerable
The brain proved to be the most vulnerable organ, with elevated levels of several inflammatory markers detected. Moreover, the researchers observed changes in gene expression in the nucleus accumbens, an area responsible for motivation and reward processing. Such changes in this brain region have been linked to anxiety, depression or addiction, as per the researchers.
"Many JUUL users are adolescents or young adults whose brains are still developing, so it’s pretty terrifying to learn what may be happening in their brains considering how this could affect their mental health and behaviour down the line," says Crotty Alexander, co-author of the publication.
Mint and mango
Interestingly, the researchers found that the inflammatory responses of organs differed based on e-cigarette flavours. For instance, mice exposed to mint aerosol were more sensitive to bacterial pneumonia.
"This was a real surprise to us," says Crotty Alexander. "This shows us that the flavour chemicals themselves are also causing pathological changes. If someone who frequently uses menthol-flavoured JUUL e-cigarettes was infected with COVID-19, it’s possible their body would respond differently to the infection."