Can vapour from e-cigarettes kill viruses?

80-year-old research back on track

Can propylene glycol, one of the main ingredients in e-cigarette vapour, provide protection against viruses and flu? Vejpkollen has looked at old research and found a truth - with modification.

Propylene glycol (PG) has antibacterial and antiviral properties. It has been clear since the 1940s. PG, in its vaporised form, has proven to be an effective tool for sterilising hospital environments, for example. We also find propylene glycol in various inhalation medicines and smoking machines. But it is also one of the main ingredients in e-liquid - a vapour inhaled daily by vejpers around the world.

Steam kills bacteria - and viruses

Doctor and e-cigarette researcher Konstantinos Farsalinos has previously analysed research on propylene glycol conducted during 1941-1942.. The 80-year-old studies were primarily concerned with identifying the antibacterial properties of propylene glycol. At the same time, the researchers wanted to determine how PG in vapour form (yes, they used smoke machines even in the 1940s) affected humans. The results were convincing: people were minimally affected in the experiments and the substance has since been successfully used to sterilise spaces in various hospital environments.

But that is not all.

The studies from the 1940s also showed that mice, who were allowed to breathe the vapour, received strong protection against diseases. In particular, against influenza viruses. When the mice that had inhaled PG vapour were subsequently exposed to an airborne influenza virus, they were completely unaffected. This is in contrast to other mice in the experiments, which all died from the flu.
PG kills flu, in other words. Quite effectively, too.

But can the vapour from e-cigarettes kill all viruses, such as the current coronavirus?

Konstantinos Farsalinos warns against jumping to conclusions. Since the 1940s, it has been difficult to find research supporting the anti-viral effects of propylene glycol.

"And there is currently no evidence that propylene glycol kills coronavirus in particular. Other influenza viruses, perhaps, but we have no modern studies to refer to. We can definitely not say that vejpning prevents people from developing influenza. That said, we know that in its vaporised form it is both anti-bacterial and anti-viral. At this point, we should investigate the possibilities, and find out if and how, propylene glycol affects the coronavirus" says Konstantinos Farsalinos.

You can read the full Konstantinos Farsalinos article on Corona and Propylene glycol here

You can read more about coronavirus and vejping in Vejpkollen:
'No evidence that e-cigarettes increase the risk of coronavirus infection'

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