The official blog of the Lung Institute.

Are e-Cigarettes Still Bad for People with Lung Disease?

7 Sep 2014
| Under Lifestyle, Lung Disease | Posted by | 6 Comments
Are e-Cigarettes Still Bad for People with Lung Disease?

Over the last 10+ years, with ever-increasing frequency, Marlboro, Camel and Lucky Strike have been replaced by such brands as blu, Vapor Zone and Green Smoke. But the new top sellers are not traditional cigarettes. These three brands are actually a new wave of smoking products classified as e-cigarettes. Granted we know now the health evils behind smoking nicotine-laden cigarettes but what about e-cigarettes? Are e-cigarettes still bad for people with lung disease?

Evolution of e-Cigarettes

Believe it or not, an e-cigarette is not a new product development. A man by the name of Herbert Gilbert was granted a patent in 1963 for an electronic cigarette but society was not ready for being health conscious during that time period. And the product went the way of many others: back on the shelf for a couple of decades.

What is an e-cigarette or e-cig exactly? This century’s version of the e-cigarette was created by Hon Lik, in memory of his father who had died from lung cancer. It is a well-known fact that the nicotine in cigarettes provides the smoker with an addictive yet temporary high. Pharmacist Lik’s thought was to develop a cigarette that still allowed people to experience a hit of nicotine but without the large quantity of the substance, along with many chemicals, being inhaled into the lungs.

An e-cigarette is battery-operated and works by heating a liquid to the point where a vapor is produced. It is the nicotine vapor that can be inhaled. And hence, ‘vaping’ is the term used to describe what previously masqueraded as smoking with traditional cigarettes. Compared to its tobacco cousin, the e-cigarette does not produce a cloud of smoke.

Smoking and Lung Disease

This year, 2014, marks the 50th anniversary when then U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry, MD, released the very first report warning about the health risks associated with cigarette smoking. Over the years as more and more research was conducted, the warning has become scarier. As a result, legislation on a national, state and local basis was implemented with many bans on public smoking as well as segregation to designated areas if people can’t kick the habit.

It is not a stretch to understand that inhaling nicotine and other chemicals can cause damage to a person’s lung. In fact, number one on the list of what causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is cigarette smoking. Physicians treating COPD patients will advise them to quit smoking, which will help decrease flare-ups and severity of their disease. Easier said than done. So would smoking e-cigarettes be a way to help a person stop smoking? Or are e-cigarettes still bad for people with lung disease?

e-Cigarettes Still Bad for People

Few realize that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not fully evaluated and studied the benefits and/or negative effects of e-cigarettes. And with that being said, the government organization also does not regulate them. There is also concern by the American Lung Association that smokers who want to quit mistakenly believe that e-cigarettes can be used as a viable tool to stop smoking. The organization is so concerned about public health and the absence of meaningful data on the short and long-term health effects from e-cigarettes that their stance is that people should not use e-cigarettes at all.

Equally distressing is the fact that currently there are over 250 different brands of e-cigarettes with more coming to market all the time. With no regulation, the consumer does not know what chemicals are in any of the e-cigarettes. Case in point: a FDA initial lab test, conducted in 2009, uncovered not only an anti-freeze ingredient but known cancer-causing substances.

Over the last couple of years, a number of independent studies were specifically designed to evaluate whether or not e-cigarettes were harmful to an individual’s lung health. For instance, a group located at the University of Athens in Greece looked at the short-term effects of e-cigarette vapor on the lungs. Researchers discovered that after 10 minutes of using an e-cigarette and inhaling the vapors, the airway resistance was raised in both non-smokers and current smokers. Airway resistance is used to measure lung function in order to determine the presence or absence of lung disease.

A study conducted at the University of Chicago unearthed a different and unsuspecting twist to the e-cigarette story. This group determined that even passive inhalation of the vapors from e-cigarettes acted as a cue to increase the desire to smoke in young adults.

If you or a loved one suffers from smoking-related diseases and want to learn more about treatment options, contact us or call (800) 729-3065.


  1. PB

    1 year ago

    Dear Paulina,

    Thanks for your comment and question. First and foremost, we’re sorry to hear that you have been diagnosed with lung and lymph node sarcoidosis. We have written an article discussing if e-cigarette flavorings are linked with lung disease. In the article, we discuss research done on certain e-cigarette flavorings, and how some of those flavorings may cause lung disease. These flavorings have been linked to serious respiratory problems. You can read the article by clicking here. As more research is done on e-cigarettes and e-cigarette flavorings, there will be more data about how and if they cause lung diseases. You can also discuss your concerns about smoking e-cigarettes with your doctor to gain his or her advice. We hope this information is helpful for you, and we wish you the best.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  2. Paulina

    1 year ago

    I have been an e-cig smoker for past 5 years or so, before I smoked “the analogs”, now once a day or so. In the past couple of months I have been diagnosed with lung and lymph nodes sarcoidosis. I wonder if vaping may have had sth to do with this disease evoluting. Are there any data on that? Not the other way around like here – is smoking/vaping bad for the lungs, but whether vaping could be that unknown factor that have caused the illness in my cause.

  3. Sameera Singh

    2 years ago

    Nice post, e cigarette liquid is better in many aspect, safe for environment , you and your near ones also. It don’t have ash and smoke. so much better than traditional cigarettes.

  4. PB

    2 years ago

    Dear Pat,

    First and foremost, we’re glad to hear that you have been working towards quitting smoking. For more assistance staying smoke-free, check out our smoking cessation guide. Also, thank you for sharing your story with us.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  5. Pat

    2 years ago

    In the process of quitting smoking, I used an over the counter e-cig as a crutch for “craving emergencies”. I would just take a few puffs from the e-cig to keep me from purchasing a regular pack of cigarettes and resuming my habit. While the e-cig did seem to help calm my smoking urges, I believe even very limited use aggravated my lungs and caused increased coughing, congestion, and shortness of breath. I feel like I may have had some type of allergic reaction to the e-cig. I would strongly advise staying away from all vaping.
    Based on my experience, I suspect they could actually be worse than regular cigarettes.

  6. Pingback: Lung Institute | E-Cigarettes and the FDA’s E-Cigarette Regulations

* Every patient is given a Patient Satisfaction Survey shortly after treatment. Responses to the 11-question survey are aggregated to determine patient satisfaction with the delivery of treatment.

^ Quality of Life Survey data measured the patient’s self-assessed quality of life and measurable quality of improvement at three months.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.

Each patient is different. Results may vary.