Report: E-Cigarettes Increase Viral Infection

The start of a new year has a lot of people looking for a fresh start.  Some choose to quit smoking.  One way to try is by switching to electronic cigarettes.  However, a new study by the National Jewish Health proves e-cigarettes increase your risk if an upper respiratory infection.

"Anytime you inhale something that is foreign to your airway it's going to irritate the cells and it's going to create that inflammation and that's exactly what vapor does," Darrin French, the Director of Respiratory at United Regional said.

Researchers used the cells from healthy non-smokers to conduct the study and they discovered it look only 10 minutes for them to show the effects.  They also said the effects lasted for more than 24 hours.

Many smokers who try to quit, try to wean off the nicotine levels in the liquid.  However, the study uncovered that it doesn't matter.

French said, "Even if you have the nicotine or no nicotine,  it's still introducing chemicals into the airway."

Even if you don't smoke, researchers found you're still at risk because you are inhaling the chemicals.

"Second hand is second hand," he said.

This study comes out as the popularity of vaping continues to grow.  In 2010 less than two-percent of adults in the United States said they tried it.  Now, that number has skyrocketed.  Last year over 40-million Americans admitted to vaping.  This is an increase of more than 620-percent.

Younger generations are all butting in on the trend.  Researchers said part of that is because of the flavors like bubble gum.

"The younger people are thinking it's pretty neat and cool to actually be able to vape all these different flavors," French said.

He said vaping companies are also marketing to the younger generations more.

"I think they're doing the same thing as cigarette companies did years ago," he said, "Once they get the adults on it, then they start targeting the young."

Something many doctors and respiratory therapists said needs to change is the regulations on e-cigarettes.

"There's still no official regulation," French said.

He said they need to be regulated like cigarettes regardless if they have nicotine in them are not.

"They are not safe.  They are not good for you," he said.

Experts said there are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to e-cigarettes. 

"I think it helps people reduce how much they're smoking.  I don't know if it reduces to actually stop smoking," he said.

French said sometimes people just go from one habit to another.  So, if you're trying to quit, look at your options, such as nicotine patches, or nicotine gum.  However, he said the best way to quit is cold turkey.

For a look at the study, click here.

Alexandra McClung, Newschannel 6