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Med Hypotheses. 2018 Sep;118:42-43. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2018.05.011. Epub 2018 May 15.

Resolution of chronic nasal Staphylococcus aureus infection in a non-smoker who started to use glycerine based e-cigarettes: Antibacterial effects of vaping?

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Institute of Health and Wellbeing, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Gartnavel Royal Hospital, 1055 Great Western Rd, Glasgow G12 0XH, United Kingdom. Electronic address:
Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, 2 Stayner's Road, London E1 4AH, United Kingdom.



Smokers who switch to vaping report a decrease in respiratory infections. A previous case report of a non-smoker who started to vape and experienced a resolution of chronic tonsillitis proposed that this could be due to bactericidal effects of propylene glycol. Here were report a similar case where a resolution of chronic nasal infection was associated with using glycerol-based nicotine vaporiser.


A never-smoker adopted an e-cigarette that his wife was using and after a few weeks of vaping liquids containing vegetable glycerine with low levels of nicotine (3 mg/ml) experienced a complete resolution of chronic nasal Staphylococcus aureus infections.


The improvements cannot be attributed to smoking cessation or bactericidal effects of propylene glycol. The effect could be a coincidence, but it could also be related to bacteriostatic properties of glycerol, or to antimicrobial properties of nicotine and/or the zinc (II) complex of nicotine. Assessments of effects of e-cigarettes with different humectants and nicotine levels in patients with recurrent bacterial respiratory infections could clarify this issue and possibly generate new treatments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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