E-Cigarette Vapor Boosts Superbugs and Dampens Immune System

In lab and mouse experiments, exposure promotes bacterial virulence and inflammation, while blocking the body’s ability to fight infection —

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System report data suggesting that e-cigarettes are toxic to human airway cells, suppress immune defenses and alter inflammation, while at the same time boosting bacterial virulence. The mouse study is published January 25 by the Journal of Molecular Medicine.

“This study shows that e-cigarette vapor is not benign — at high doses it can directly kill lung cells, which is frightening,” said senior author Laura E. Crotty Alexander, MD, … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Laura E. Crotty Alexander, MD

Laura E. Crotty Alexander, MD

Senior author Laura E. Crotty Alexander, MD, is Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine in the Department of Medicine and staff physician at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System.

The article reporting the findings was published first online on January 25, 2016.  Article abstract  |  Full text of article (UC San Diego Only)

Cigarette Smoke Makes Superbugs More Aggressive

In lab and mouse experiments, cigarette smoke helps drug-resistant bacteria fight off the immune system —

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), an antibiotic-resistant superbug, can cause life-threatening skin, bloodstream and surgical site infections or pneumonia. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine now report that cigarette smoke may make matters worse. The study, published March 30 by Infection and Immunity, shows that MRSA bacteria exposed to cigarette smoke become even more resistant to killing by the immune system. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Laura E. Crotty Alexander, MDPulmonologist Laura E. Crotty Alexander, MD, is senior author of the study report. She is a Health Sciences assistant clinical professor in the Department of Medicine at UC San Diego and a staff physician at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System.

Read the study abstract with link to PDF in Infection and Immunity (UCSD only)