E-Cigarette Study Suggests Technology Just as Damaging as Tobacco

Research into e-cigarettes suggests that the vaping technology may not be any safer than conventional tobacco products.

Researchers at the University of California found that e-cigarette vapour may damage DNA in a similar fashion to that of traditional cigarettes.

Scientists believe that the form of DNA damage caused could equally lead to cancer.

Cells exposed to e-cigarettes developed DNA damage and died far sooner than those left untreated.

Nicotine-free e-cigarettes caused 50 per cent more DNA strand breaks, while for those containing nicotine, the damage rose three fold over eight weeks.

“Based on the evidence to date I believe they are no better than smoking regular cigarettes,” commented Professor Jessica Wang-Rodriquez of the University of California and one of the leaders of the study.

“There haven’t been many good lab studies on the effects of these products on actual human cell. Our study strongly suggests that electronic cigarettes are not as safe as their marketing makes them appear to the public. We were able to identify that e-cigarettes on the whole have something to do with increased cell death. We hope to identify the individual components that are contributing to the effect,” Wang-Rodriquez continued.

Debate on this new smoking technology has been fierce. Many health campaigners have suggested that e-cigarettes are superior, at least in health terms, to traditional cigarettes.

Public Health England had indeed advocated smokers switching to vaping, suggesting that e-cigarettes are significantly safer than conventional tobacco products.

It was also reported back in August that the NHS would begin offering e-cigarettes on prescription, in order to diminish the chances of smokers contracting cancer.

But this latest research suggests that vaping technology could be a forlorn attempt to reduce the dangers of smoking.

Indeed, both the World Health Organisation and scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of Liverpool remain concerned about their safety.

Researchers from the University of California utilised epithelial cells Iin their experiment, and found that cells exposed to vaping vapour displayed several forms of damage.

DNA strand breaks, apoptosis and necrosis were all found to be common in cells directly treated by the vaping technology.

Wang-Rodriguez Remains convinced that e-cigarettes are just as dangerous as traditional tobacco products.

“There have been many studies showing that nicotine can damage cells. But we found that other variables can do damage as well. It’s not that the nicotine is completely innocent in the mix, but it looks like the amount of nicotine that the cells are exposed to by e-cigarettes is not sufficient by itself to cause these changes. There must be other components in the e-cigarettes that are doing this damage. So we may be identifying other carcinogenic components that are previously undescribed.”

An estimated 2.6 million adults in Great Britain currently use electronic cigarettes. Nearly two out of five users are ex-smokers and three out of five are current smokers.


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