Vaping may help pneumonia-causing bacteria invade airways

UNTV News   •   March 2, 2018   •   5619

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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Duterte bans vaping in public places as expansion of nationwide smoking ban

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 28, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte officially prohibits vaping or the use of e-cigarettes in public places, based on the executive order signed on Wednesday (February 26).

Executive Order (EO) No. 106, which was released to the public on Friday (February 28), also covers the ban on selling e-cigarettes to minors.

It is also prohibited to distribute and sell e-cigarette products that are not registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This includes electronic nicotine and non-nicotine delivery systems.

The EO aims to prevent health risk to the public especially to non-smokers.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte signs into law higher taxes on alcohol, e-cigarette

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 23, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law imposing higher taxes on alcohol, e-cigarettes, and other vapor products.

The Republic Act no. 11467 was signed to raise additional funds for the government’s Universal Healthcare Law.

Under the newly signed law, taxes on distilled spirits shall increase to P42 per proof liter this year and will increase by 6% every year starting 2025. There will also be an ad valorem tax imposed on the products which is 22% of the alcohol prices.

Meanwhile, taxes of wine and beer products will increase by P50 and P35 per liter respectively. These products will also be subjected to a 6% tax increase every year starting in 2025.

For vapor products, a pack of heated tobacco will have an excise tax of P25 this year. Salt nicotine products will have excise taxes set at P37 per milliliter while cigarette taxes are set at P45 per pack this year.

Taxes of all vapor products will increase by 5% every year in the succeeding years.

The law, meanwhile, exempts medicine for diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol in value-added tax.

By 2023, the law will also exempt value-added tax on prescription drugs for cancer, mental illness, tuberculosis, and kidney disease.

However, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President has vetoed section 5 of the Republic Act.

“The sin tax law that has been approved, there’s one provision that was vetoed, section 5, regarding the authority of the court to first grant seizure of properties as well as searching,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Police to still arrest people who vape in public —NCRPO

Maris Federez   •   December 10, 2019

MANILA, Philippines— The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) will still continue arresting people who vape in public places.

NCRPO acting director PBGen. Debold Sinas said that around 98 vapes had been confiscated and 98 had also been arrested.

He added that 812 vape stores have voluntarily closed down and 297 were urged by the NCRPO to stop selling.

Sinas also welcomed the report that the ban on the importation of vapes is now in effect, although he admitted that they have not received any directive on the matter.

“Wala pa kaming natanggap na directive so yung campaign namin ay tuloy tuloy lang po yun. Napansin mo medyo humina na nga ang nahuhuli eh. At tsaka kumukonti na rin kasi parang nasanay na rin. So sana tuloy tuloy na ito,” Sinas said.(from the report of Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

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