The research, published in the American Journal of Physiology -- Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, also found that short-term exposure to e-cigarettes was enough to cause lung inflammation similar or worse than that seen in traditional cigarette use.
The refills typically contain propylene glycol, nicotine and often flavourings, said researchers from the University of Athens Medical School in Greece.
Researchers studied several groups of mice that received whole-body exposure to varying chemical combinations four times each day. Each exposure session was separated by 30-minute smoke-free intervals.
The cigarette and e-cigarette groups were compared with a control group that was exposed to medical-grade air.
Some of the animals in each group were exposed to short-term cigarette smoke or e-cigarette vapour (three days), while others were exposed for a longer term (four weeks).
The team found an increase in markers of inflammation, mucus production and altered lung function in the propylene, propylene + nicotine and flavouring groups after three days.
In addition, two inflammation-producing proteins became elevated only in the flavouring group, suggesting that some of the many flavouring components on the market may not be safe for even short-term use.
The condition of the e-cigarette groups in comparison with the cigarette group surprised the researchers. The level of oxidative stress -- stress at a cellular level -- in the flavouring group was equal to or higher than that of the cigarette group.
However, respiratory mechanics were adversely affected only in mice exposed to cigarette smoke and not to e-cigarette vapour after prolonged treatment.
"The observed detrimental effects in the lung upon (e-cigarette) vapour exposure in animal models highlight the need for further investigation of safety and toxicity of these rapidly expanding devices worldwide," the researchers said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)