Vaping may help pneumonia-causing bacteria invade airways

UNTV News   •   March 2, 2018   •   5242

FILE PHOTO: An exhibitor staff member uses an electronic cigarette at Beijing International Vapor Distribution Alliance Expo (VAPE CHINA EXPO) in Beijing, July 24, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Lee

(Reuters Health) – People who smoke e-cigarettes might have an increased risk of developing pneumonia because the vapor could help bacteria stick to cells lining the airways, a small experiment suggests.

Traditional cigarettes have long been linked to an increased risk of pneumonia, but it’s been less clear whether e-cigarettes might have the same effect.

To find out, researchers did a series of laboratory experiments to see whether exposure to e-cigarette vapor might increase levels of a molecule produced by airway lining cells, called platelet-activating factor receptor (PAFR).

Pneumococcal bacteria use PAFR to help them adhere to airway cells.

First, the researchers exposed some human airway epithelial cells in culture dishes to e-cigarette vapor. Compared to cells that weren’t exposed, those that were had PAFR levels three times higher.

Then, they exposed mice to e-cigarette vapor and found higher PAFR production in the rodents who inhaled the fumes.

Finally, the researchers asked 17 people who were regular vapers to come smoke an e-cigarette in the lab. Compared with these participants’ PAFR levels measured before the vaping session, there was a three-fold increase in PAFR levels an hour after people smoked e-cigarettes.

“The take-home message is that it is over-optimistic to assume that all of the adverse effects of cigarette smoking are reduced by switching to vaping,” said senior study author Jonathan Grigg of Queen Mary University of London.

“It also raises the question that, even if we have not proved that vaping increases the risk of pneumonia, for young people taking up vaping for the first time, a precautionary approach would suggest that the risk should be assumed to exist until proved otherwise,” Grigg said by email.

Big U.S. tobacco companies are all developing e-cigarettes. The battery-powered gadgets feature a glowing tip and a heating element that turns liquid nicotine and flavorings into a cloud of vapor that users inhale.

Even when e-liquids don’t contain nicotine, the lungs are still exposed to flavoring chemicals when the e-liquids are heated and the vapors are inhaled.

Some previous research, mostly in lab experiments, has linked exposure to these flavorings to an increase in biomarkers for inflammation and tissue damage. This type of cell damage can lead to lung problems including fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and asthma.

In the current lab experiment, PAFR levels surged in human nose lining cells in culture dishes exposed to e-liquids with nicotine and in cells exposed to nicotine-free vapor. This was accompanied by increased adhesion by pneumonia-causing bacteria.

Even though the study is small and the results must be verified in larger human trials, the findings still suggest that e-cigarettes aren’t risk-free and shouldn’t necessarily be considered a safe way for people to try to curb use of traditional cigarettes, the researchers conclude in the European Respiratory Journal.

At least when it comes to pneumonia, nicotine patches or gum may be a safer option for smoking cessation, the researchers note.

“PAFR expression is enhanced in cigarette smokers and patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and has been hypothesized to be mediating enhanced adhesion of bacteria to epithelial cells and subsequent development of pneumonia,” said Ilona Jaspers, deputy director of the Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma & Lung Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“The data shown here suggest that vaping e-cigarettes could also increase expression of PAFR in relevant epithelial cells,” Jaspers, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “In general, I would refrain from calling e-cigarettes ‘safer’ than cigarettes, but would suggest calling them causing ‘different’ effects than cigarettes.”

SOURCE: bit.ly/2nV3Ts7 European Respiratory Journal, online February 7, 2018.

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FDA eyes restricting sale of flavored e-cigarettes

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 21, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Jerred Marsh (R) samples flavored vape juice from Nancy Reyes at the Vape Summit 3 in Las Vegas, Nevada May 2, 2015. REUTERS/David Becker/File Photo

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended to the 18th Congress to limit the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.

Officer in Charge, Food and Drug Administration Usec. Eric Domingo said this is to prevent children from trying vaping.

Domingo said because of these flavors, the children might think it is safe to consume.

“Of course dapat hindi siya attractive to minors. Gusto natin wala iyong mga flavor na candy, flavor na minsan cheesecake. Hindi ba ganiyan iyong mga flavor nila which attract children(Of course it should not be attractive to minors. We do not want the candy flavor, or the cheesecake flavor. Aren’t those flavors very attractive to children?),” he said.

READ: House OKs tax hike on alcohol, vape products on third reading

The FDA also said that one of the most effective ways to prevent the youth from doing vices is to increase its taxes.

The House of Representatives already approved the excise tax hike on alcohol and vape products on the third reading.

Vape PH, meanwhile, said that higher taxes can only force people to go back to smoking.

“Heavy taxes on reduced-risk products will only result in smokers sticking it out with conventional cigarettes instead of switching to less harmful nicotine products,” their statement reads.

The Philippine E-Cigarette Industry Association (PECIA) said there was no public consultation for the proposed bill.

“Our organization could have provided the resources and studies to aid House Representatives understand tobacco harm reduction strategies being embraced by some countries,” according to their statement.—AAC (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

DOH lauds House approval of alcohol tax bill

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 15, 2019

The Department of Health (DOH) has lauded the approval of House Bill 1026 or the bill seeking to increase taxes on alcohol products.

In a statement, the DOH said increasing excise taxes and other public policies on alcohol are ways to reduce pubic alcohol consumption.

“Increasing the excise tax on alcohol products is the best buy and win-win intervention for reducing alcohol consumption and increasing revenue for health,” according to the DOH statement.

The DOH has reported that the number of road and traffic accidents in the Philippines attributable to alcohol has reached a total of 10,372 fatal and non-fatal accidents from 2016 to 2018.

“The continuing partnership between DOH and the House of Representatives is certainly a positive proof that we are united in protecting the health of the Filipino people,” according to Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III.—AAC

House OKs alcohol tax bill on second reading; vape tax hike inserted

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 15, 2019

The House of Representatives (HOR) has approved the bill that seeks to increase the excise tax on alcohol, including heated tobacco and vapor products.

This was after the Committee on Ways and Means approved House Bill 1026 filed by committee chair Albay Representative Joey Salceda.

Under the proposed bill, there will be an ad valorem tax which will be topped with the specific tax, depending on the volume per category of alcoholic beverage.

The specific tax will increase by 7% annually starting in 2020 for wines, and 2023 for distilled spirits and fermented liquors.

Alcohol products like brandy, rum, whisky and gin will have a 22% imposed ad valorem tax rate plus a specific tax of P35 per liter beginning January 1, 2020.

For sparkling wine, there will be a 15% ad valorem tax per liter to be imposed plus P650 specific tax per liter.

Cooking wines with salt content of not less than 1.5 grams for every 100 milliliters will be exempted from excise tax.

There will also be an additional excise tax of P30 for each milliliter for vapor products such as nicotine salt and conventional “freebase” or classic “nicotines.” This is higher compared to the current P10 per 10 ml.—AAC

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