Nanoparticle expert, Dr. Amir Farnoud, and his team compared the effect of vapor and conventional smoke on lung surfactant and found conventional cigarettes “significantly inhibited the ability”

Dr. Amir Farnoud is an Assistant Professor at Ohio University who specializes in interactions between nanoparticles and the body. For nearly ten years he’s been working to understand many different kinds of nanoparticles effect on the body better, but his latest work was published last week and is focused on e-cigarettes. Concerned over the lack of diversity in studies looking at the effect of vaping on the lungs, Dr. Farnoud and his colleagues decided to take a new approach.

Most lung function studies thus far have focused on the cells of the pulmonary airways. This deep-lung approach is also critically needed, acknowledged Dr. Farnoud in a blog post touting their findings, but they see vaping’s effect on the ability of lung surfactant to reduce surface tension as a vital aspect of understanding e-cigarettes.

Important Questions To Answer

Pulmonary surfactant is a lining of the lungs that primarily reduces the level of surface tension in the alveolar fluid. It covers most of the lungs and basically helps keep the whole thing structurally sound. It’s important to understand the effect of smoking or vaping on this material because everything that is inhaled comes into direct contact with the surfactant. The study was designed to mainly look at the ability of the surfactant to reduce surface tension after being exposed to three principal substances, regular air, e-cigarette vapor, and conventional cigarette smoke.

The researchers used a clinical surfactant extract that is used for the treatment of premature babies lacking their own. The extract, called Infasurf, was applied to a Wilhelmy plate (the standard device/method for testing surface tension in the lab). In addition to testing the three different types of substances, they also decided it was important to examine several different flavors of e-liquid (tobacco, mint, and berry). The researchers believe that since varying flavors have sometimes been used as reasoning for differing results, it was integral to see if they could detect any discernable differences in the outcomes for different tastes.

Results Of The Tests

After conducting their tests, Dr. Farnoud and his team found that “E-cigarette vapor regardless of the dose and flavoring of the e-liquid did not affect surfactant interfacial properties. In contrast, smoke from conventional cigarettes had a drastic, dose-dependent effect on Infasurf.” These findings are fantastic news for vapers who may still be concerned with the effect of vaping on lung function.

The reasoning given by the researchers was that because vaping does not burn anything, the tar associated with most negative effects on lung function is virtually non-existent for vapers. They did observe a change in the microstructure of compressed lung tissue exposed to both vapor and traditional smoke, noting that it resulted in broader and more numerous hills. But the effect of this is not entirely known. Dr. Farnoud suggests further research into this question is critically needed, but shouldn’t lessen the harm reduction indicated by their study. Nor should it imply that vaping is 100% risk-free.

Implications

Many critics and skeptics of vaping point to the relative lack of research studying the effect of vapor on the body. While this is inherently true given the lack of time, it shouldn’t be grounds for de-legitimizing something proven to be much less harmful than cigarettes in every way we can measure. So hopefully more research like this, both focused on an under-researched aspect of the question, and conducted by researchers who have no connection to the vaping industry, can begin to change opinions.

It’s vital that we change the abysmal reputation and understanding of vaping in the general public if we want to overturn bans and taxes. If we do not, we only face harsher and harsher restrictions as politicians continue to equate vaping with smoking. Research from experts in unrelated fields like Dr. Amir Farnoud is the best tool we have to combat the skeptics and internet trolls. After all, studies conducted by entirely unbiased sources is always the strongest rhetorically.

Do you think vaping has had a positive impact on your lung function since switching from smoking? Do you think that it’s essential to have research supporting vaping conducted by entirely independent researchers? How can we further the impact of studies like the one led by Dr. Farnoud and his colleagues? Let us know in the comments.



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