A team of renowned tobacco control experts explains how vaping could improve quality of life for patients
Switching from smoking to vaping can dramatically improve your health, at this point if you’ve read most any article on this site you will know that. This likely includes a paper published by Public Health England back in 2015 called E-Cigarettes: An Evidence Update that concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. Last November one of the co-authors of that famous study, Professor Peter Hajek, along with a psychologist from the Centre for Substance Abuse Research in Glasgow, Joanna Astrid Miller, released a paper discussing a case study which indicates there may be benefits for certain non-smokers taking up vaping as well. While reviewing answers to a vaping survey, researchers came across the story of a 26-year-old non-smoking woman referred to as LM, who took up vaping with some marvelous results.
The Case Study
Since the time “LM” was seven, she had been suffering from an almost chronic case of Tonsillitis, or inflammation of the tonsils. Virus’ or bacteria generally cause tonsillitis, and symptoms can include a sore throat, trouble swallowing, and enlarged lymph nodes. She struggled with her condition at least seven days out of every month, sometimes more. From the age of 17 on she had recurrent bouts of Tonsilloliths, which is where debris gets trapped in the creases of the tonsils, this debris then calcifies and becomes hard and uncomfortable; also referred to as Tonsil Stones.
LM had been frequently prescribed antibiotics and treated by specialists when she was younger, but they ultimately advised against her having her tonsils removed. Things had gotten so bad her general practitioner even told her just to wait it out anytime her tonsillitis flared up. Unsurprisingly given the negative outlook, she accepted there was no solution for her condition.
Then There was Vaping
The change started In April of 2016, LM’s partner quit smoking and switched to vaping using 0-3mg/ml nicotine e-liquid. Out of curiosity, LM tried her partner’s vape. Eventually, as her partner found more success with vaping they moved on to a new rig. LM took over the old one and started to begin vaping regularly on her own. She preferred sweet flavors of nicotine free e-liquid.
LM says that vaping was helpful for her day to day life. It met her need to do something with her hands, while also stopping her from biting her nails and helping her to refrain from sweets and snacks more often. Three months into vaping regularly LM made a life-changing realization: Since becoming a regular vaper, she was no longer suffering from a sore throat or phlegm at all; Her tonsillitis had practically disappeared. As LM has continued to vape, her condition hasn’t returned, and her tonsilloliths have improved markedly. As an added bonus, she also hasn’t had a single respiratory infection or common cold since taking up vaping.
How It Worked
While the reverse of LM’s symptoms could have merely coincidentally happened, there are some theories the authors posit about vaping’s effect. “There is a possibility that propylene glycol in EC aerosol affected a microbial strain that was causing LM problems. Nicotine at low concentration is also known to have anti-inflammatory effects, and this may have played a role as well, although LM uses primarily nicotine free EC.” PG or Propylene Glycol does, in fact, have antimicrobial properties. The authors conclude that further studies would need to be done to see if these circumstances are anecdotal or if vaping zero nicotine e-cigarettes does truly help patients with chronic throat infections.
What is fascinating about this particular case is that LM was not a smoker before her vaping. The authors of the paper even acknowledge that if she had been a smoker previously that the turn in her condition would be attributed to quitting, not to vaping. “The present case study is of particular interest because LM is a non-smoker,” write Miller and Hajek. “Smoking increases susceptibility to respiratory infections, and so a similar recovery in a smoker who switched to vaping could be ascribed to smoking cessation.”
If further studies are conducted and find vaping to be a benefit to those suffering from upper respiratory and throat conditions it could make a world of difference in their lives. Vaping would then become, in larger part, a medical practice. It would also bring the benefits of vaping to light for many non-smokers who would never have been exposed to such a favorable view of vaping.
Are you surprised that vaping seems to have potential uses for non-smokers? Do you think the general public could accept vaping if it improves conditions such as Tonsillitis? How can we improve the public awareness to the many benefits of vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.