Vaping phlegm is always a hot topic of conversation among vapers. And while some vapers don’t seem to experience any phlegm at all, for others, it’s mucus city. Vapers will often attribute the phlegm to a variety of anecdotal sources – from your lungs cleaning themselves out after years of smoking, to whether your vape juice uses a VG or PG base (VG often gets a bad rap phlegm-wise), to your preferred mod, to the common cold.
However, a new study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that vapers have stickier mucus than non-vapers, had a harder time expelling phlegm, and that nicotine was to blame.
Traditional smoking has long been proven to be associated with wheezing, a hacking cough, and a mountain of gunk that comes out of your lungs every morning. Now, researchers at the University of Miami, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, and the University of Kansas, have found that some e-cigarettes contain the same phlegm-causing compound found in tobacco smoke: nicotine.
Researchers sought to learn if nicotine had the same effect on lungs when vaped as it does when smoked. Scientists used a smoking robot (is anyone else picturing this?) to analyze vaping phlegm, and cells from both human and sheep airways to study the body’s ability to move and expel mucus – and then compared them to cells that weren’t exposed to nicotine via vaping. The researchers then repeated the experiment on live sheep, with the same results.
In a healthy body, mucus is produced to keep certain surfaces like the inside of your nose moist. Phlegm is generally produced by inflammation – trapping toxins and bacteria when you have a cold or flu. But a healthy body is also able to easily clear the mucus and phlegm. People with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma, and other respiratory disorders aren’t able to remove the mucus and phlegm as easily, resulting in an increased risk of infection. Now, it appears that the same may be true for those who vape nicotine.
A number of studies have determined that vaping is the most effective way to quit smoking, effectively doubling your odds of quitting. And the FDA recently announced that it was helping to develop new nicotine replacement products, such as vaping, that are both safe and effective, helping smokers gradually reduce the amount of nicotine they use.
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