Vaping may boost pneumonia risk: study

Updated 08 February 2018
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Vaping may boost pneumonia risk: study

PARIS: Vaping may help pneumonia-causing bacteria stick to cells lining the airways, likely boosting disease risk, researchers said Thursday.
A study published in the European Respiratory Journal did not directly compare vaping’s effect to that of smoking tobacco cigarettes.
But the findings did suggest that users of electronic cigarettes may be at higher risk of lung infection than people who do not vape, the research team reported.
“If you choose to take up e-cigarettes... this indicates a red flag that there may be an increased susceptibility” to pneumococcal bacteria, study co-author Jonathan Grigg of the Queen Mary University of London told AFP.
Grigg and a team conducted three types of experiment. One exposed human nose lining cells to e-cigarette vapor in the lab, another involved mice inhaling vapor and then being exposed to pneumococcal bacteria, the main cause of pneumonia.
A third trial studied the nose lining of 11 e-cigarette users compared to six non-vapers.
The team noticed a sharp increase in the amount of bacteria sticking to airway cells after e-cigarette exposure. Such adhesion has previously been shown to increase susceptibility to disease.
“Some people may be vaping because they think it is totally safe, or in an attempt to quit smoking, but this study adds to growing evidence that inhaling vapor has the potential to cause adverse health effects,” said Grigg.
“By contrast, other aids to quitting such as (nicotine) patches or gum do not result in airway cells being exposed to high concentrations of potentially toxic compounds.”


Last month, a US study said vaping may increase cancer risk because it leads to DNA damage, despite containing fewer carcinogens than tobacco smoke.
That study, too, did not compare the effects of cigarette smoking directly to vaping.
Research in the journal Tobacco Control last October said a large-scale switch from tobacco to e-cigarettes would prevent millions of premature deaths by the year 2100, even assuming the gadgets are themselves not risk-free.
E-cigarettes, said to contain no tar and fewer toxins than tobacco cigarettes, were developed as a safer alternative to tobacco smoking.
But many people fear that a harmless veneer may make e-cigarettes a “gateway” for young people to lifelong nicotine addiction.
Commenting on the latest study, Peter Openshaw, an experimental medicine professor at Imperial College London, said any evidence that vaping raised lung infection risk was “only indirect.”
“Although it is possible that vaping might increase susceptibility to pneumonia, the effect is likely to be lower than from smoking itself,” he said via the Science Media Center.
“This study should not be used as a reason to continue to smoke rather than vape — the evidence to date is that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than smoking.”


Family favorites: Toto’s famous spaghetti and meatballs soup

Updated 21 May 2018
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Family favorites: Toto’s famous spaghetti and meatballs soup

This hearty dish is the middle point between spaghetti and meatballs and soup. It is a family favorite in my household, my kids love it and ask for seconds — and thirds sometimes! As any mother of picky eaters knows, this is a dream come true and I promise you, this soup will have your kids slurping from the bowl.

I was first introduced to this delicious meal by my mother-in-law, whom we affectionately call Toto, and ever since then, it’s become known as Toto’s famous spaghetti and meatballs soup in our home.

It is perfect for a satisfying iftar dish, so why not try it today?

 

Ingredients:

Store bought spaghetti (Toto makes hers from scratch. If you can do that, kudos to you, if not just use store bought spaghetti).

Two peeled potatoes cut into large cubes.

Half-a-pound of minced meat.

One onion, chopped finely.

Six ripe tomatoes and two  tablespoons of tomato paste.

Five garlic cloves, crushed.

A handful of chopped coriander leaves.

 

 Method:

Combine the tomatoes and tomato paste with one liter of water in a blender, with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture into a big pot on the stovetop and bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to let it simmer.  

In a separate bowl, add the minced meat, onions and garlic, with a dash of salt and pepper. Mix until well incorporated and roll into small meatballs.

Cook the meatballs through in a sizzling, oiled pan. Transfer the meatballs into the pot with the simmering tomato soup.

Add the peeled potatoes that have been cut into chunks into the soup.

Let it cook for 10 minutes and add the spaghetti. Continue to cook the dish until the spaghetti is al dente and serve with a garnish of freshly chopped coriander leaves.