Most of my readers are not familiar with how important the surface of their airways is in helping to maintain their health. I will try to shed some light on this topic and provide more information about the harmful effects of e-cigarettes.
The surfaces of our airways are covered by cells that have tiny hairs that project into the airways. The function of these tiny microscopic hairs, called cilia, is extremely important. These hairs are covered by a thin mucous blanket which catches and traps things like bacteria, viruses or airborne contaminants that get into our airways. The hairs move in a direction that moves the mucous forward to the center of our tracheobronchial tree, where we can sense it and cough it out. This function is so important that anything that disrupts it causes us to have an increased risk of infection and other diseases. The disruption in function of these hairs can be caused by some genetic diseases, but the most common reason is something we are doing to ourselves.
The most common cause for disruption of our ciliary function is smoking. Smoking causes our cilia to stop beating, and eventually causes them to become damaged and disappear. A common flavoring agent in e-cigarettes called cinnamaldehyde has been found to do just the same thing. Following exposure to cinnamaldehyde our tiny cilia hairs stop working for at least 60 minutes, allowing whatever is riding on that blanket of mucous to infect or damage our airways or lung tissue.