Funded Research Could Change What We Know About Vaping Forever

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Researchers at the University of Colorado were recently awarded over $3 million to develop the most advanced human lung proxy ever.

It’s easy to forget, given just how massive of an industry it’s grown into, but vaping is still a relatively new product. Just over ten years ago, very few people had ever heard of vaping, now it’s a multi-billion dollar industry. Despite a growing pile of independent research which supports the harm reduction and smoking cessation value of vaporizers, there is still a ton of research needed before we can be 100% sure about all the health effects. That’s why it’s as important as ever to fund research seeking to answer these tough questions. Luckily we may soon get a major boost to our research efforts, as the FDA recently awarded over $3 million to the University of Colorado to develop the world’s most advanced imitation human lung.

The proposal would generate a “living” lung which can be used to test many of the most critical and elusive questions about vaping, including what it does to healthy lung cells. The news was met with praise from both sides of the debate, as both believe the results will ultimately improve their case. Only time will tell what this new lung proxy actually does for our understanding of vaporizers, but many experts firmly believe it will be one of the most significant developments in vaping research ever.

The Research Proposal

According to recent reports, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus just received $3.4 million to fund the creation of a multicellular three-dimensional “living” structure of a human lung which contains cells naturally lining our conducting airways. As you can imagine, this is a massive undertaking which, if successful, could change everything we know for sure about e-cigarettes. After it’s made, the team will be able to evaluate the impact of e-liquid vapor on different parts of our system, including genes, air pathways, cell function, as well as tracking any toxicants present. This is one of the most vital steps in furthering our understanding of the impact of e-cigarettes on humans.

This grant was announced after what has been a tumultuous year for the vaping industry, especially large companies like Juul Labs. Just recently a study published in Chemical Research in Toxicology claimed to prove the nicotine levels in Juul pods are so high, they risk becoming toxic to human cells. While many in the vaping community have blasted these findings for being misleading, the bottom line is a large portion of the public sees vaping as the enemy. That’s likely the most crucial thing an advanced human lung model could improve. According to the researchers, “providing the next generation of a human lung model to compare the toxicity of emerging products, particularly hookah and e-cigarettes, will help identify dangerous and carcinogenic formulations. This study has an unprecedented potential to advance the available toolkits for FDA to better protect and promote public health concerns around tobacco products.”

Outside Studies On Vaping

This latest research will likely help us move the narrative forward one way or another, but that doesn’t mean we don’t already have a ton of substantial evidence. A comprehensive report published back in 2015 by Public Health England concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. Since then we’ve gotten the same sort of figures over and over, including just a few months back when researchers concluded there are 93% more toxicants in cigarette smoke than e-liquid vapor. However, nothing quite indicates how much is at stake like the report from the Journal of Aerosol Sciences which concluded the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is 57,000 times lower than a smoker with a similar background.

It’s not just harm reduction either. We also have plenty of reason to believe vaping is one of the best smoking cessation tools at our disposal. In fact, a report conducted by researchers at the University of Louisville concluded not only is vaping and effective quit aid, but it’s more likely to succeed than anything else. But perhaps the most critical piece of evidence we have about vaping is the report of over 60,000 teens which concluded only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up a vape regularly. Which has to mean even fewer are ending up smokers due to vaping.

Implications

Brand new technology like the proxy human lung is vital to the fight for vaping rights. The longer anti-vapers can call into question the long-term effects of vaping, the longer it will take for them to reach their full potential. Once we have more research proving their harm reduction and smoking cessation value, it’ll become much easier to get people on board. We all know once you have more support, it’s immediately much harder for the government to swoop in and make significant changes. That’s why we must all work now to spread the positive information we have about vaping to the smokers and non-smokers in our lives. If we ever want to end the smoking epidemic once and for all, we simply must take advantage of our best tools, including e-cigarettes.

Do you think this new lung proxy will be a major development for vaping? What’s the most important thing to teach others about vaping? How should we work to spread positive information? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.

Jimmy, lover, blogger, vaper and ex-smoker. I’ve been blogging about and supporting Vaping since 2009. They changed my life and I think history will show them as one of the most significant public health invention of the 21st century.

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