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E-Cigarettes & Cough Reflex Sensitivity

E-Cigarettes & Cough Reflex Sensitivity

Evidence suggests that electronic cigarette (e-cig) use has grown rapidly in recent years. “There seems to be a perception among the public—and perhaps even some physicians—that e-cigs are a benign substance because users are essentially inhaling water vapor,” says Peter V. Dicpinigaitis, MD. “However, few studies have assessed how e-cig use affects the respiratory tract or pulmonary function.” Previous studies have shown that otherwise healthy smokers of tobacco cigarettes experience decreased cough reflex sensitivity when compared with non-smokers. Dr. Dicpinigaitis is one of few researchers worldwide with the ability to measure the effects of an external influence on cough reflex sensitivity in the laboratory using capsaicin, which has been shown in previous research to induce cough in a safe, dose-dependent, and reproducible manner. With this background, he and his colleagues sought to determine the effects of a single exposure to e-cig vapor on cough reflex sensitivity.   A Closer Look For a study published in Chest, healthy adult lifetime nonsmokers visited a study site on 3 consecutive days. “Unlike previous research assessing cough reflex sensitivity in which chronic cigarette smokers were easy to recruit, there are few chronic e-cig users,” explains Dr. Dicpinigaitis. On Day 1 of the study, participants underwent cough reflex sensitivity measurements in order to establish a baseline. On Day 2, they underwent an e-cig vaping session using the disposable e-cig Blu (Fontem US, Inc). “Blu is one of the most commonly used disposable e-cigs in the United States, and use of a disposable e-cig is easiest for a research study,” says Dr. Dicpinigaitis. The vaping session consisted of 30 puffs on the e-cig 30 seconds...
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