Image showing lungs filling up with water.

Ecigs, Water Vapour and The Lungs: Should You Be Concerned?

Could water vapour from e-cigs collect in your lungs, and become a breeding ground for germs?

That’s the advice some health professionals are giving. And because of this, some smokers are still smoking, despite the fact Public Health England believes e-cigs are at least 95% safer than smoking.

Here’s a recent email I received:

Hi, James

Sorry to bother you, but I wonder could you give me some information, please? I have recently been diagnosed with COPD and, of course, been told to give up smoking.

When I asked the “Health Care Professional” about using e-cigs, she replied that despite recent findings that e-cigs were 95% less harmful than cigarettes, the inhalation of water vapour creates a pool of water on the floor of the lungs and is an ideal breeding ground for all sorts of “nasty germs”, and is therefore, subject to debate about the efficacy of using e-cigs.

I would welcome your observations on her comments and, indeed, any empirical evidence that you feel would be useful. Having been a smoker for more than 50 years, it would be difficult to stop and am looking for assurance that e-cigs would be able to provide the necessary stimulus that tobacco withdrawal would undoubtedly engender.

An Expert Opinion

Being a retailer, I can’t, of course give out health advice, so referred the person to Professor Riccardo Polosa.

Riccardo is an expert in respiratory medicine, clinical immunology, and tobacco addiction, Chief Scientific Advisor for Lega Italiana Anti Fumo (LIAF), the Italian Anti-Smoking League, and one of the world’s leading experts on e-cigarettes.

Here was his response:

“This is ridiculous! You would get more water vapour from a home nebulizer designed to deliver COPD medications than you would get from an electronic cigarette.”

“We’ve also examined the effects of regular electronic cigarette usage on people with COPD, and found that respiratory symptoms were never triggered by e-vapour; moreover, in these patients we have shown an overall improvement in both subjective and objective respiratory outcomes after switching from tobacco cigarettes to electronic cigarettes.”

“What’s more, PG in aerosol form is an effective antibacterial and antiviral agent that is likely to prevent infections of the respiratory tract. Ironically, far from creating an ideal condition for germs to multiply and spread, PG vaping could be a practical and safe way to prevent COPD exacerbations.”

Also see: Interview with Professor Polosa

Further reading

Polosa et alHealth effects in COPD smokers who switch to electronic cigarettes: a retrospective-prospective 3-year follow-up 22 August 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 2533—2542 DOI:

4 thoughts on “Ecigs, Water Vapour and The Lungs: Should You Be Concerned?”

  1. This just breaks my heart. Every time I start to feel that we’re getting somewhere at last, what with Public Health England having finally reached the same conclusions that I did based on my OWN research along with basic common sense approximately SEVEN YEARS AGO, along comes something like the above which makes me just want to weep.

    If we were in the States I’d almost be inclined to suggest your correspondent should go and consult one of those ghastly ambulance-chasing lawyers they have over there to find out if they have a case for deliberate, wanton medical negligence based on the advice this so-called “Health Care Professional” gave. Clearly, PHE’s recent conclusions and advice have not been followed up by providing any of those involved with treating lung diseases (such as COPD) with better information than is available to the average Daily Mail reader.

    My personal view is that in the event this BAD, INCORRECT advice discourages the individual concerned from giving vaping a try, resulting in this person FAILING to stop smoking tobacco, this is more or less tantamount to attempted murder. I don’t recollect which of the (real) experts said this, but am positive one of them stated several years ago that continuing to smoke for just one more month would (statistically) expose you to greater risk of harm than vaping for the rest of your life – however long that might be.

    I would certainly suggest your correspondent has every right to print out a copy of Professor Polosa’s advice and send it along to his local NHS Trust with a request this be brought to the attention of the “Health Care Professional” to prevent such bad advice being given to anyone else unfortunate enough to be under the “care” of this person.

    Certainly an unexpected (and unwelcome) side-effect of becoming a vaper for me has been a steady erosion of my former trust in so-called ‘expert’ opinions on numerous issues, not simply vaping-relating matters. Just remind me: are we OK to eat eggs this week or not…??

  2. I live in Johannesburg, RSA. I have severe COPD. Would ecigs help to relieve this condition & if so, which brand is safest?

    1. Hey Mary

      E-Cigarettes could in theory be beneficial, If your a smoker that is… I wouldn’t suggest starting anything if your a non-smoker, because the consequence of addiction out way any benefit.

      Now on the “safest”; I don’t believe any one is safer than another; if used correctly; but i wouldn’t suggest starting out with a box mod for heavy VG vaping right off the batt.. What i would recommend (atleast to begin with) is something in the “eGo” range, i personally like the Kruger EVOD and the Eleaf iKit..

      Now Coils/Juice do make a difference; make sure you only use quality e-Juice from a respected supplier or make your own with food grade ingredients.
      Coils on the other hand; use “authentic” coils or build your own coils with a 28-32g wire and some organic cotton

      Ps if you “make” your own coils; it works out to costing about $0.25cad/coil, although the plastic gromits do where out, so after about 8-10 “rebuilds” you should consider replacing the whole unit (or just the gromits), DIY ejuice is also a good choice; costs about $0.75-$2.00cad/bottle and you know what is in the solution..

      Hope that helps

  3. When I first started vaping my GP was 100% on board with it and I’m pleased to say that since I started vaping 3 years ago my asthma has just about disappeared, I now never have to use my inhalers unless I have a chest infection.
    I reckon this supposed medical expert the guy talked to was not going on known medical reality but was speaking from a personal point of view, there are still many people who believe that we are not consuming water vapour but are secretly smoking.
    Wish the world would look to real medical evidence and stop learning all they know from newspapers.

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