The vapor from e-cigarettes may boost the production of inflammatory chemicals in the lungs, while disabling key cellular defenders against infection, a new study suggests.

In a series of laboratory experiments, researchers found that e-cigarette vapor impairs the activity of cells called macrophages, which normally remove allergens, bacteria and other particles that have made their way into the lungs, according to the report published in Thorax.

For the cultured cells, exposure to e-cigarette vapor induced many of the same changes in lung macrophages that have been seen in cigarette smokers and patients with COPD, the researchers note.

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