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The flu season is in full swing, and many people are bracing against the onslaught of illness by arming themselves with hand sanitizer and multi-vitamins. Despite such preventative measures, according to the CDC, “the flu remains widespread across most of the country and severity indicators are still high” as of February 6.

Are we having a flu epidemic? While it might be a little too soon to start wearing facemasks out in public, it’s true that the 2014-2015 flu season has been a doozy so far. “The United States experiences epidemics of seasonal flu each year, and right now all of CDC’s influenza surveillance systems are showing elevated activity,” says the CDC.

Right as public alarm regarding virus epidemics is reaching an all-time high, a team of scientists from Maryland’s John Hopkins University have recently published their findings on whether or not vapor cigarettes weaken users’ immune systems, supposedly making them more susceptible to viruses like flu and pneumonia.

Researchers tested their hypothesis by exposing lab mice to an amount of vapor from a Njoy e-cig that they believed was equal to the amount that a person would inhale.

The Results

The team found that the mice exposed to vapor (the variables) indeed showed signs of a weakened immune system, which was suggested could be caused by the propylene glycol found in e-cig liquid.  Several of the mice were administered the influenza virus, while others were injected with the streptococcus pneumonia bacteria that causes pneumonia, sinusitis and other illnesses.

The senior author of the study, Professor Shyam Biswal, said the findings suggested that “e-cigarettes are not neutral in terms of the effects on the lungs.”  However, he and other team members know that more tests must be conducted in order to truly determine the effects of e-cig use on the human immune system.

The Controversy

Many in the vapor cigarette community argue that e-cigs are an excellent alternative to traditional smoking, which as we all know has been proven to be incredibly harmful to our health. Also, there have been criticism lodged against the experiment method itself.

For one, the researchers tested only one vapor cigarette brand, flavor and nicotine level. “Critically, I would like to see this group follow up with no-nicotine e-cigarette fluid, I would like to see no flavoring at all, I would like to see … the glycerin alone, and see what effects those have,” said a Portland State University chemist who was not involved in the study.

He went on to point out: “You can’t really train mice to vape,” making it clear that there will inevitably be some differences between this experiment and a human study.

Odds are, you can expect to see much more research about the health effects of vapor cigarettes coming down the pipeline. VaporFi will keep you informed on the latest news topics that surround our industry, so stay tuned to our blog and knowledge center.