Smoking electronic cigarettes could slow the healing of skin wounds as much as regular cigarettes, according to a new study on rats.
"Based on our findings, e-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes as it relates to timely wound healing," said study corresponding author Dr Jeffrey Spiegel. He's chief of facial plastic surgery at Boston Medical Center.
It's long been known that smoking regular cigarettes impairs wound healing, and surgery patients are advised to avoid smoking for several months before an elective operation.
Some smokers believe e-cigarettes are safer than regular smokes. But there has been little research into whether that's really the case, particularly following an operation.
In this study, laboratory tests on rats showed that both e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes resulted in increased tissue death, which delays wound healing.
"Providers, and patients, need to understand the risks of both types of smoking so that they can make the best decision to keep the patient as safe as possible before and after surgery," Spiegel said in a medical center news release.
The results were published October 18 in the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.
The researchers admit that there is a paucity of clinical evidence in humans, and that further studies are warranted
Research involving animals may not provide the same results in humans.
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