Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine discovered that e-cigarettes alter the state of multiple organs in the body. Daily use of pod-based e-cigarettes alters inflammation in multiple organ systems, including the brain, heart, lungs, and colon, according to a study published this week in eLife.
They also discovered that the effects vary depending on the flavour of the e-cigarette and can influence how organs respond to infections such as coronavirus, according to City News Service. The study is also the first to look at JUUL devices and flavorants across multiple organs.
“Because these pod-based e-cigarettes have only recently gained popularity, we don’t know much about their long-term effects on health,” said Dr. Laura Crotty Alexander, senior study author and associate professor of medicine at UCSD School of Medicine. “Many JUUL users are adolescents or young adults whose brains are still developing, so learning what may be happening in their brains is pretty terrifying considering how this could affect their mental health and behaviour in the future.”
The most dramatic effect was observed in the brain, where several inflammatory markers were elevated in a brain region critical for motivation and reward processing. This is particularly concerning because inflammation in the area has been linked to anxiety, depression, and addictive behaviours.