Respiratory Conditions

E-Cigarettes and Skin Wounds

Here’s another reason to avoid vaping: It delays the healing of skin wounds.

The study is just the latest in bad news about e-cigarettes. Investigators recently cited the addictive properties of e-cigs, especially one particular brand (See “The Most Addictive Brand of E-Cigs?”)

In the newest study, conducted on animal subjects, experts led by a team from Boston Medical Center found that vaping affects skin wound health just as much as traditional cigarette smoking. In other words, both types of cigarettes lead to increased tissue death, which causes delays in wound healing.

The findings were published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.


It’s well known that traditional cigarette smoking has a bad effect on wound healing, and that’s why surgeons recommend that patients quit tobacco for several months before surgery. But despite the growing popularity of vaping, until now no substantive research has been done about whether e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to traditional smoking in the period before an operation.

“E-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes when it comes to wound healing.”

In their study, the researchers exposed three groups of rats to one of the following: traditional cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, or no cigarettes. The researchers then created skin flaps on the models and looked at the grafts daily to check on wound healing. After two weeks, the researchers found that there was a noticeably increased rate of tissue death on grafted flaps in groups exposed to either e-cigarettes or traditional cigarettes.

“Based on our findings, e-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes as it relates to timely wound healing,” said Jeffrey Spiegel, MD, chief of facial plastic surgery at BMC and the study’s corresponding author. “Providers and patients need to understand the risks of both types of smoking.”

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