Cigarette smoke prevents healing of wounds.(Shutterstock)
Cigarette smoke prevents healing of wounds.(Shutterstock)

Waiting for your wound to heal? Stay off smoking, switch to vaping instead

Wounds heal normally when exposed cells come in contact with e-cigarette, but that’s not the case with cigarette smoke, find researchers.
By HT Correspondent | Asian News International, Washington DC
UPDATED ON JUN 26, 2017 10:50 AM IST

If you’re prone to wounds, and are waiting for a wound to heal, your smoking habits may come into play. Specifically, vaping may be better than cigarette smoking, according to a recent research. The laboratory study reveals that cigarette smoke completely prevented wound healing at concentrations over 20% in a wound healing assay, whereas e-cigarette vapour had no effect, even at 100% concentration and double the amount of nicotine relative to smoke.

The scratch test involves growing a layer of endothelial cells that line the inside of blood vessels in the lab, creating a wound/scratch and observing how long it takes to heal. The wound heals normally when exposed cells are untreated or when they are exposed to e-cigarette vapour, but not when exposed to cigarette smoke. “Our results suggest that chemicals in cigarette smoke that inhibit wound healing are either absent from e-cigarette vapour or present in concentrations too low for us to detect an effect,’ said James Murphy, Head of Reduced Risk Substantiation at British American Tobacco.

Vaping does not really affect wound healing, say researchers. (Shutterstock)
Vaping does not really affect wound healing, say researchers. (Shutterstock)

It is thought that the presence of damaged endothelial cells, which have an impaired ability to repair, may be a factor in the development of heart disease. Smoking is known to be a risk factor for the development of heart disease. Scientists at British American Tobacco used the scratch test to compare the effects of smoke extract from a reference cigarette (3R4F) and vapour extract from two commercial e-cigarettes, Vype ePen (a closed modular device) and Vype eStick (a cig-a-like device) on the wound healing process.

When a person smokes or vapes, water-soluble chemicals pass into circulation and interact with endothelial cells lining blood vessels. Aqueous extracts were obtained by bubbling puff-matched amounts of smoke or vapour through cell-growth medium to produce a stock that could be diluted into various concentrations. Smoke extract was then assessed at concentrations from 0% to 30%. To ensure that e-cigarette extracts were tested at equivalent and higher nicotine concentrations than smoke (as possibly experienced by a heavy vaper), vapour was tested at concentrations between 40% and 100% (over twice the nicotine).

Immediately after the wound was made, the cells were immersed in smoke or vapour extract for 20 hours. Smoke decreased cell migration rate in a concentration-dependent manner, completely inhibiting movement of cells towards the wound at concentrations over 20%. In stark contrast, vapour from both types of e-cigarette had no effect — cells could migrate into the wounded area, as normal, even at 100% concentration and double the amount of nicotine. The study appears in the journal Toxicology Letters.

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