Scientific Evidence For the Disease-Fighting Properties of Inhaled Propylene Glycol

Jun 12, 2023

Scientific Evidence For the Disease-Fighting Properties of Inhaled Propylene Glycol



While it is very controversial to say that anything about vaping is good for you except in terms of its relative harm to smoking, one ingredient that has some scientifically proven benefits is propylene glycol. A study from 1942 and a peer-reviewed abstract from 2016 have examined the positive effects of propylene glycol (PG) on the respiratory system in fighting off bacteria which may lead to pneumonia, colds, and other viruses. This is another reason to quit smoking - cigarettes lower the abilities of the immune system, rather than giving you an additional ingredient to fight disease as vaping does.


1942 Study on PG inhalation in laboratory mice


This simple experiment conducted at the University of Chicago’s Billings hospital was very simple and had a surprising outcome. Two glass cases of mice were exposed to the flu virus. Mice that had been exposed to propylene glycol inhalation survived, while the other group died.


Dr Robertson, the lead author of the study, said “The propylene glycol itself was a potent germicide. One part of glycol in 2,000,000 parts of air would – within a few seconds – kill concentrations of air-suspended pneumococci, streptococci, and other bacteria numbering millions to the cubic foot.”


2016 peer-reviewed article on respiratory benefits of switching from smoking to vaping


This abstract published in April 2016 examines the potential respiratory benefits of switching from smoking to vaping. The abstract concludes that vaping, by helping people quit smoking, will reduce the incidence of respiratory diseases that smoking causes. It additionally debunks a study in mice which had shown increased respiratory infections, pointing out issues with its methodology and the fact that the mice were more likely to have died from nicotine exposure, which mice are more sensitive to than humans, rather than PG exposure.


The authors also point out that PG is “a potent bactericidal agent” which can offer additional germ-killing benefits if inhaled regularly, and that electronic cigarette users can both mitigate risk from past smoking and reduce the harm the smoking has caused by using vaping to quit.


From the abstract:


“In itself, abstaining from tobacco smoking by switching to ECs is likely to lower the risk of respiratory infections and pneumonia. Also, given that propylene glycol in its aerosol form is a potent bactericidal agent [18], regular vaping may have additional theoretical health benefits.”


The abstract concludes that vaping is 96% safer than smoking, and cigarette smokers will decrease their risk for respiratory infections and pneumonia by switching to vaping to kick the smoking habit. 

Image Credit: Sven Storm

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