A new study that directly compares new heated tobacco devices with vaping and traditional cigarettes shows that all three are toxic to human lung cells.

The study published in ERJ Open Research suggests that the new device, which heats solid tobacco instead of an e-liquid, is no less toxic to the cells than ordinary cigarette smoke.

Researchers say the study adds to evidence that these newer electronic nicotine delivery devices may not be a safer substitute for cigarette smoking.

The study was led by Dr Pawan Sharma, a researcher at the University of Technology Sydney and the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, Australia.

He said: “Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death, and with the introduction of e-cigarettes in the last decade, the trend of nicotine uptake is not going to slow down in the near future. If the current trend continues, tobacco use will cause more than eight million deaths annually by 2030 around the world.

“The latest addition in this emerging trend is the planned and vigorous introduction of heated tobacco devices. They are commonly called next generation or heat-not-burn products. We know very little about the health effects of these new devices, so we designed this research to compare them with cigarette smoking and vaping.”

Researchers tested the effects of all three nicotine sources on two types of cells taken from the human airways: epithelial cells and smooth muscle cells. In healthy lungs, epithelial cells act as the first line of defence to any foreign particles entering the airway while smooth muscle cells maintain the structure of the airway. However, smoking can lead to difficulty in breathing primarily by hampering the normal functions of these cells.

Read more at European Lung Foundation