Using electronic cigarettes may harm the body’s defences against pneumonia and flu, according to a recent study. The research, which reopens the debate on the dangers and benefits of e-cigarettes, suggests the vapour produced by the devices can compromise the immune system in the lungs, leaving them more vulnerable to infection by harmful bacteria and viruses.
Scientists from John Hopkins University exposed mice to e-cigarette vapour twice a day for two weeks.
They then administered some of the mice with an influenza virus and others with the bacteria which is responsible for pneumonia. The mice that had been exposed to the vapour were less able to fight off illness, and some died. Professor Shyam Biswal, senior author of the study, said the findings suggested that e-cigarettes are not neutral in terms of the effects on the lungs and that studies should now be carried out on people, particularly those with common lung problems which often affect smokers and ex-smokers – the main users of e-cigarettes.
It is true that e-cigarettes have been shown to be highly effective in helping smokers to quit, and there is a broad consensus that despite some uncertainty over their health impact, they are less harmful than tobacco cigarettes but Professor Biswal remains concerned e-cigarettes could pose risks to future generations, particularly given evidence from some countries that they are becoming more popular among young people who have never smoked.
He has recommended to the World Health Organisation that they be banned in indoor public spaces – a measure the Department of Health in England has ruled out, but which is being considered by the Welsh government.
However, Professor John Britton from the UK said the most important point was that harm to the lungs was less from e-cigarettes than from tobacco. “The lung is an exquisitely delicate organ and therefore nobody with any common sense would believe that inhaling heated vapour many times a day would be harmless,” he said. “What matters here is not a comparison of the effects of e-cigarette vapour compared with nothing, but the effects compared with those of tobacco smoke. Harm to the lungs will be less with electronic cigarettes than tobacco cigarettes, and any smoker who cannot quit using nicotine, and doesn’t find medicinal products effective, would be well advised to try an electronic cigarette.”
The Guardian, 4 February 2015 (Adapted).
Question 1: [2 POINTS] Indicate whether the following statements are true or false and write down which part of the text justifies your answer.
a) This is the first time the question of e-cigarettes has been discussed.
b) The study was carried out on human beings.
- FALSE. “Scientists from John Hopkins University, exposed mice to e-cigarette vapour twice a day for two weeks. Shyam Biswal, senior author of the study, said the findings suggested that e-cigarettes are not neutral in terms of the effects on the lungs and that studies should now be carried out on people.”
c) Both England and Wales have decided to ban e-cigarettes in public buildings.
d) Professor Britton believes e-cigarettes are not dangerous for a person’s lungs.
- FALSE. “The lung is an exquisitely delicate organ and therefore nobody with any common sense would believe that inhaling heated vapour many times a day would be harmless”.
Question 2: [2 POINTS] Answer the following questions in your own words according to the text.
a) According to the text, which different groups of people are smoking e-cigarettes?
b) On what points do Profesor Biswal and Professor Britton agree and disagree?
Question 3: [1,5 POINTS] Find words or phrases in the text that correspond to the words and definitions given.
- a) discussion (paragraph 1) debate
- b) principal (paragraph 2) main
- c) extremely (paragraph 3) highly
- d) give up (paragraph 3) quit
- e) consequently (paragraph 4) therefore
Question 4: [1,5 POINTS] Complete the following sentences without changing the meaning.
a) The only way not to be lonely in a new city is to make some new friends.
- Unless you make new friends, you will (could)be lonely.
b) The university has included various new subjetcts on the degree course.
- Various new subjects have been included on the new degree course.
c) “Don’t eat the fish at that restaurant because it isn’t fresh!” John advised us.
- John advised us not to eat the fish at the restaurant because it was not fresh.
WRITINGQuestion 5: [3 POINTS] Write a short essay (about 120-150 words) on the following topic:
- In your opinion, what things are important for a healthy lifestyle ?