Vaping doesn't impact gut bacteria like smoking: study

A new study has found that non-smokers and individuals who "vape" have the same gut bacteria. However, smokers — people who smoke traditional tobacco cigarettes — have disrupted microbiome, according to the study. The revelation highlights another potential benefit found in switching from traditional to tobacco-less cigarettes, though from a health standpoint, quitting altogether remains ideal.

The study comes from Newcastle University and an international team of researchers who found the same general gut flora associated with non-smokers and using e-cigarettes. This is the first study of its kind to contrast the gut microbiome of cigarette smokers with individuals who exclusively use electronic cigarettes.

As part of the research, the team took 10 samples from each group, as well as controls, and then used gene sequencing to determine which bacteria were present. There was bad news for smokers.

Individuals who smoked tobacco cigarettes were found to have lower levels of Bacteroides, a probiotic that may help prevent obesity and Crohn's disease. As well, smokers have more Prevotella bacteria in their system, that unfortunately being linked to increased risks of colitis and colon cancer.

It's important to note that this is a pilot study with very small sample sizes; additional work needs to be done. As well, the conclusion here isn't that vaping is harmless, but rather that it appears to be the less harmful option versus combustion cigarettes. Though vaping wasn't associated with changes to gut bacteria, it has been linked to potential cardiac and lung damage.

SOURCE: Science Daily