E-cigarettes can weaken users body’s ability to fight off the flu virus, research claims.
The study, carried out by researchers at the University of North Carolina, saw 47 volunteers take part with startling results.
Smokers, vapers and non-smokers took part, with each group given the same weakened version of the flu.
As expected the immune systems of the smokers were worse at seeing off the disease, with results showing that the virus was able to replicate itself.
The vaping group reacted in a different way as their first-line of defence – the genes and proteins involved in the innate immune system – were supressed.
They were much less able than non-smokers at seeing off the disease, but not in the same way as smokers were affected.
The researchers hypothesis that vaping could dampen the body’s long term response to the flu virus.
Lead author Meghan Rebuli speaking to Gizmodo said: “While our study was focused on influenza, it could also be applicable to other types of respiratory infection that occur all throughout the year.
“I know, as a researcher, that there’s likely a place for e-cigarettes in tobacco harm reduction.
“But I think for youth and young adults, the increased risk for infections should be seen as a deterrent for its use, especially for someone who still has a developing immune system and brain.”
The study is yet to be published in a journal but is set to be previewed at the American Thoracic Society conference today.