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Research shows propylene glycol in e-cig vapor kills meningitis-causing bacteria

Posted by Matt Rowland on

The vaping community may be surprised to learn that the propylene glycol found in the e-liquids of most vaping devices helps ward off the bacteria known to cause meningitis, according to published research.  But the good news does not stop there.  Scientists have known for decades that vaporized propylene glycol kills other bacteria as well, including pneumococci, streptococci, and staphylococci.  These three bacteria alone are well-documented as possible causes for such common illnesses as pneumonia, strep throat, food poisoning, impetigo, cellulitis, and many others.

Yet anti-tobacco lobbyists often claim that vaping is just as dangerous as smoking, even though there are volumes of scientific research with evidence to the contrary.  Organizations like the American Cancer Association (ACA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continuously misinform the American People by claiming that more research is needed before they can identify the precise levels of risks associated to public health. 

Health benefits of vaporized propylene glycol

However, there is one decades-old research study that anti-vaping organizations tend to leave out of the conversation.  Published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes Health (NLB-NIH) way back in 1945, lead scientist Dr. Theodore Puck and his team discovered that vaporized propylene glycol provides some very significant health benefits.

“Data are presented showing the minimum glycol concentration necessary for effective bactericidal action on various microorganisms. Pneumococci were killed by amounts of propylene glycol as low as 1 gm. in 20 million cc. of air. Concentrations of 1 to 5 million to 1 to 10 million were required to produce the same degree of killing of streptococci and staphylococci. The observations here reported add further support to the previously proposed conception of the mechanism of the lethal action of propylene glycol vapor, namely, that a bactericidal concentration of the glycol accumulates in the bacterial droplet as a result of contact with and absorption of glycol molecules from the surrounding atmosphere.”
“Pneumococci were killed by amounts of propylene glycol as low as 1 gm. in 20 million cc. of air. Concentrations of 1 to 5 million to 1 to 10 million were required to produce the same degree of killing of streptococci and staphylococci.”

Related Article:   E-cig study: Vaping causes 96 percent less DNA damage than smoking 

The study is entitled The Bactericidal action of propylene glycol vapor on microorganisms suspended in air, and even though it is more than 70-years old, it is still published on the NLB-NIH website for the entire world to see.  And this is not the only study that Puck and his team conducted over the years regarding vaporized propylene glycol.  They conducted several.

Dr. Puck is no run-of-the-mill scientist.  In fact, at the time of his death in 2005 at the age of 89, Dr. Theodore Puck was such a highly regarded member of the scientific community that The New York Times ran a lengthy article touting his many scientific accomplishments.  Still, anti-vaping activists refuse to recognize the many health benefits of vaping and e-cigs.

So, the next time that someone complains of the “dangers of second-hand vapor,” vapers can quote the research study by Dr. Puck.  Second-hand vapor is not deadly, and it is not nearly as toxic as second-hand smoke.  In fact, the vapor from e-cigs kills meningitis-causing bacteria while also preventing pneumonia, strep throat, and other common illnesses…even for those standing nearby to the vaper. 

Related Article:   Vaping study: E-cigs produce 97% less of cancer-causing butanol 


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The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent the viewpoints, policy or company position of Vapes.com, the rest of our staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.



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2 comments

  • Thanks, Geoffrey! There is so much valuable scientific research already published regarding the benefits of vaping. It’s hard to believe that the FDA and the CDC still refuse to endorse vaping as a healthier alternative to smoking and Big Pharma nicotine replacement therapies.

    Matt Rowland on
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