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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is common among smokers, causing obstructed airflow from the lungs, and eventually leading to a variety of health complications. COPD occurs over long periods of time, after repeated exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter. Recently, the chronic pulmonary disease was linked to vaping in a new COPD vaping study published on Web MD on 8/14/18.

About The Study

  • A device used to mimic vaping was used
  • Human lung cells were studied from eight non-smokers
  • Cells were exposed to plain e-cig fluid (e-liquid) and different strength artificial vapor (with and without nicotine). A “no exposure” (24hrs) baseline was also used for comparison.


  • E-cig vapor was much more harmful to cells than the e-cig liquid.
  • Increase in cell exposure was directly correlated with an increase in cell damage.
  • Vapor containing nicotine also amplified the damage to lung cells.
  • Direct exposure to fluid increased increased cell death and the production of oxygen free radicals 50 times.
  • Cells exposed to vaped fluid were unable to fight off bacteria
  • Antioxidant treatment restored cell function and helped reduce other damage caused by e-cigarette fluid.

Understanding the details of this study prior to making claims regarding possible health effects of vaping is absolutely vital. More often than not, claims are made by the anti-vaping community with little supporting evidence to back up their statements.

It is important to note that the vape community has never claimed vaping to be safe, or healthy; but vapers have claimed vaping to be a “safer”, “less harmful” alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes.

So instead of taking part in foolish back and forth banter, I will offer up some questions regarding the study and statements made by WebMD, and let YOU — the reader — decide for yourself.

  1. Should a device used to “mimic” vaping be used to study real world health effects of vaping?
  2. Are lungs ever directly exposed to e-cig vapor?
  3. Are lungs ever directly exposed to e-cig liquid (e-juice)?
  4. How long were lung cells exposed to the e-liquid and vapor? 24hrs, or longer?
  5. Were the cells used in the study from current non-smokers or lifetime non-smokers? In other words, had the participants’ cells been exposed to any cigarette smoke in the past, or were they all completely smoke-free?
  6. What temperature was the vapor created it?
  7. Were the same power settings (wattage, voltage) used for nicotine containing liquid, and non-nicotine containing juice?
  8. What kind of nicotine was used in the study?
  9. What were the tested nicotine concentration levels?
  10. At what temperature were the lung cells kept throughout the study?

The COPD Vaping study does a great job at raising awareness. However, the research results raise more questions than anything. Until real vaping studies are the norm: real humans, real gear, that kind of thing; conclusions about longterm health effects of vaping can’t really be made. Studies on the possible health effects associated with short-term vaping should be a platform for discussion moving forward.

So, while this study is interesting — we’d need a lot more information before we can say it’s anywhere near definitive that vaping can lead to COPD.

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