Smoking e-cigarettes can increase your risk of flu and weaken your ability to fight it
Those who smoke regularly are typically hit harder when a cold or flu virus strikes, but people who vape could also struggle to fight it, experts have warned.
Inhaling vapour from e-cigarettes can weaken the immune system and make the flu virus much more deadly, according to new research.
New findings from the American Thoracic Society revealed that inhaling vapour from e-cigarettes can change the cells in the respiratory tract, weakening the body's ability to fight off viruses - particularly the flu.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina conducted a study with three groups of volunteers, each separated into three categories - non-smokers, cigarette smokers and e-cigarette smokers.
From each participant, they collected fluid from the thin layer covering the respiratory tract and nasal passages, as well as nasal biopsies and blood.
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All three groups were then given a weakened form of the flu virus, before the same samples were taken again at the end of the experiment.
Proteins essential for fighting off viruses had noticeably diminished among e-cigarette smokers in the study (Photo: Shutterstock)
Findings showed that specific proteins which are essential for fighting off viruses had noticeably diminished among e-cigarette smokers - and not among tobacco smokers.
Those who vape had lower levels of influenza-specific antibodies which protect against the virus, meaning their immune system was weakened.
Researchers concluded that the findings of the study suggest e-cigarette use, and smoking tobacco, both cause changes to the respiratory immune system. The significant reduction in specific antibodies among e-cigarette smokers means that the ability of the immune system to adapt to certain viruses could be impaired over time.