Published on: 20/02/2023
Intestinal problems and e-cigarette: can they be linked?
Digestive problems are common in smokers: this is a fact known to all those who habitually consume traditional cigarettes and has been proven numerous times by scientific research.
Some vapers, however, complain of very similar annoyances, especially if they are former smokers and have put aside blondes for a short time.
How can we explain this?
Do e-cigarettes also have a negative impact or, perhaps, are these symptoms mostly related to the effects of tobacco that continue to be felt even after they have stopped consuming it?
Let us answer these questions in the following article.
The effects of nicotine on intestinal motility
Smokers are well aware of the effects of cigarettes on the digestive system: it is known that nicotine, along with many other phenomena for which it is responsible, also increases intestinal motility.
There is no need to deepen this theme in this article: a detailed scientific explanation would be boring for the reader. It is enough to know that nicotine excessively stimulates the activity of the intestine and, consequently, increases the incidence of disorders such as colitis.
In most cases electronic cigarettes are used with liquids that contain this molecule: on the other hand, we have often stated that the e-cigs should be considered a tool to be used provisionally when quitting smoking so as to gradually get rid of nicotine addiction and, at the same time, reduce the harm caused by tobacco consumption.
If all this is true, there is no reason to use an electronic cigarette without this substance, is there?
However, since e-liquids almost always contain nicotine, it is logical to think that e-cigs can alter intestinal activity like blondes. And, in part, that’s true.
However, it should not be overlooked that the disorders caused by traditional cigarettes in the intestines, including inflammation of this tract of the digestive tract, are also caused by many other substances present in the smoke of tobacco, but absent in the steam of vaping devices.
Why the danger of smoking goes beyond nicotine
The burning of tobacco produces thousands of toxic substances for the body, many of which can damage the digestive system.
At the level of the intestine, these molecules attack the villi, small bumps that have the task of absorbing the nutrients contained in food, compromising their functionality. In addition, they severely alter the bacterial flora present in this organ, causing the uncontrolled proliferation of dangerous microorganisms.
As a result, it is not surprising that the incidence of many enteric diseases, including bowel cancer, in smokers is significantly higher than in those who do not consume cigarettes.
The e-cig, instead, do not work through combustion: therefore, they do not produce the thousands of toxins typical of tobacco and do not significantly alter the intestinal bacterial flora. This was demonstrated by a study carried out by researchers from leading Anglo-Saxon universities.
According to science electronic cigarette does not compromise intestinal flora
The research we have mentioned in closing of the previous paragraph has been carried out by a team of scholars belonging to several prestigious universities, including the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and Newcastle University.
It was conducted on 30 subjects of which 10 smokers, 10 non-smokers and 10 vapers for which samples of biological material were taken by performing salivary and buccal and rectal swabs. The aim of the researchers was to verify the impact of traditional and electronic cigarettes on the bacterial flora of the mucosa of the mouth and intestines.
The examination of the salivary samples had a surprising result: no substantial differences were found between the samples taken from the different groups. In essence, although the damage caused by smoking to the mucosa of the mouth has been known for some time, it does not seem that traditional cigarettes are able to significantly alter the bacterial flora.
As for buccal and rectal swabs, however, the results were different and showed significant differences between non-smokers and smokers. In particular, the bacterial flora of the latter has been largely compromised compared to that of those who did not consume traditional cigarettes, characterized by the proliferation of pathogenic microorganisms such as Prevotella.
There were no substantial differences between non-smokers and vapers.
As a result, researchers concluded that electronic cigarettes do not seem to have the ability to alter oral and, above all, intestinal bacterial flora.
In this article we briefly examined the effects of the electronic cigarette on the intestine.
On the one hand, it is true that e-cigs can affect the functionality of this organ due to the nicotine content of e-liquids. If we analyze these devices comparing them to traditional cigarettes, however, a profound difference emerges: tobacco is extremely harmful to the intestine and seriously compromises the bacterial flora. Vaping devices, on the other hand, have a much lower impact, as shown by studies conducted on the subject.
In summary, we have collected the necessary data to reiterate a concept expressed several times on our blog: Vaping is a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes and is a valuable tool for all tobacco users who wish to reduce the health risks to which they are exposed.
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