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Our Thoughts

//Laboratory Tests of blu Vapour Show No Evidence of Damage to Human Lung Cells

Posted 13/04/2019 11:38am

By Grant O’Connell, Strategic Science and Policy Engagement Director

Many adult smokers have asked: ‘Is vaping bad for your lungs?’

New research by Imperial Brands Science began to investigate by demonstrating how our vapour product, myblu, produces a similar effect on human lung tissue as normal air.

The peer-reviewed study, conducted by research organisation MakTek, investigated the potential adverse effects of blu vapour on human airway tissue, compared with conventional cigarette smoke.

Researchers used a 3D model of lung tissue in parallel with a VITROCELL smoking/vaping robot to assess the potential toxicity of e-cigarette vapour to human cells.

Two blu nicotine-containing vape products1 were tested – with and without flavourings – on real human airway tissue, alongside a conventional reference2 cigarette.

The results were in marked contrast:

  • The impact of the vapour – from both flavoured and unflavoured e-liquid – on the airway tissue was similar to fresh air, even up to 400 continuous puffs. Essentially, blu vapour had no cytotoxic impact on human airway tissue under the test conditions.
  • In contrast, exposure to conventional cigarette smoke resulted in a significant and rapid decrease in lung tissue viability under the test conditions.

The graph below summarises the results. Click on the image for a larger version.


Matthew Stevenson, In-Vitro Research Manager and study author, commented:

“Until now, there have been few in-vitro studies around the potential adverse effects of vapour. This organotypic study sought to closely mimic the exposure of both flavoured and unflavoured vapour and smoke on normal human lung tissue.

“The results we observed build our belief that blu offers compelling potential as a less harmful alternative to smoking. To date, blu has demonstrated its harm reduction potential in every test we’ve conducted.”

We believe the study further evaluates the harm reduction potential of our vaping products, and consider it good scientific practice that any future laboratory studies should replicate human physiology as closely as possible before any clinical trials commence, rather than relying on non-realistic human exposures and extrapolated results.

This study reinforces Imperial’s commitment to investment in new in-vitro tools and assays which eliminate the need for animal testing, as we continue our progress in substantiating the harm reduction potential of our NGP portfolio.


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  1. blu PLUS +
  2. 3R4F reference cigarette
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