It’s almost flu season. Winter is coming and that means runny noses and sore throats.
However, according to an article recently published e-cigarettes might be able help with the sore throats.
Emphasis on the might.
Updated 4th March 2020
This story has been mentioned in several newspapers and has been picked up by the vaping press. Yet looking through the Journal Medical Hypothesis, where it is said to be, so far, we have been unable to find it.
Perhaps it was more a discussion? (if you can find it – please do send on to us!)
What we have found though is information about the quoted lead scientists and some further information that may give credence to this suggestion, that yes, vaping helped cure a sore throat.
The lead quoted author from the story is Dr Joanna Astrid Miler. According the Global Forum on Nicotine website, she is a “Psychologist, with research interests in addiction, harm reduction and smoking cessation. Miler holds MA and MRes degrees from the University of St Andrews and a PhD from the University of Southampton UK. Prior to joining the Centre for Substance Use Research, (Glasgow) she worked as an Analyst at RAND Europe, and later, as a Research Health Psychologist in the Health and Lifestyle Research Unit of Queen Mary University of London. Alongside conducting scientific research, she is also a trained specialist stop smoking advisor and worked in that capacity for the City of London Stop Smoking Service.”
The article and reason for the headline question revolves around one woman who had what appeared to be an incurable sore throat. For nine years, (nine years!!) she had had no relief, but then, when she started vaping…
”After about three months, she realized that her throat was no longer sore in the mornings.
“She has now been vaping for eight months and her tonsillitis has not recurred,” the report adds.
“She has not suffered a single respiratory infection or common cold.
“As this is a never-smoker, the improvements cannot be attributed to smoking cessation. One possible explanation is that the improvement was due to antimicrobial properties of propylene glycol, (PG)”
We must be mindful that this is one instance, of a rare case, and to date we haven’t found the research ‘quoted’. (again, if you find it, do send it to us)
Yet, if we add this anecdotal information to the research that Propylene Glycol is a potent bactericidal agent (kills bacteria), perhaps this is an area of research worth pursuing, and there may be some truth to it?
Indeed, when that question was asked on the internet, ‘Do you get more, or less colds since you switched to vaping?’ The general consensus and anecdotal evidence is that most (not all!) have less colds and flu since they switched to vaping.
This can be put down to the body becoming stronger now that it is not dealing with cigarette smoke, but the instance above does indicate the PG may have a strong role to play in this as well.
(There are of course several variables involved with catching the flu/cold/sore throat, but this post is focusing on the vaping aspect, on some of the interesting, and unintended possible positive side effects of vaping.)
But back to the information about PG being a bactericidal.
I’m not sure we can truly answer the question that vaping may prevent you from catching the flu or a cold, or even that it is responsible for curing sore throats, but what we can show is the research regarding PG as a bactericidal is out there, and has been for long time.
For instance, this from 1942.
“It has been found that propylene glycol vapor dispersed into the air of an enclosed space produces a marked and rapid bactericidal effect on microorganisms introduced into such an atmosphere in droplet form. Concentrations of 1 gm. of propylene glycol vapor in two to four million cc. of air produced immediate and complete sterilization of air into which pneumococci, streptococci, staphylococci, H. influenzae, and other microorganisms as well as influenza virus had been sprayed.”
Note they mention the flu – influenzae.
What about more recent studies regarding PG?
This is a study from 2015, and it states in the conclusion:
“Propylene glycol was effective against three organisms namely S. mutans E. faecalis and E. coli and its bactericidal activity was at 50%, 25% and 50% respectively. PEG 1000 was effective against S. mutans and E. coli at 25%. Hence propylene glycol was effective on more number of organisms of which E. faecalis is a known resistant species. PEG 1000 was bactericidal at a lower concentration but was effective on two organisms only”.
It will be interesting to see if any research does come from this finding of a woman’s sore throat being cured after vaping, but one thing we can suggest, should you have a cold, sore throat or flu is to vape menthol e-liquid, that way your nasal passages will at least be clear.