No Smoke Without Fire: The Dangers of Vaping

Bad but still not as bad as a cigarette

E-cigarettes are marketed as a safer alternative to smoking tobacco.

Reporting their findings in the journal Proceedings in the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers concluded that "e-cigarette smoke is carcinogenic" and that e-cigarette smokers "have a higher risk than non-smokers to develop lung and bladder cancer and heart diseases".

Cells in the mice mutated and became cancerous at a much higher rate than in a control group of animals that breathed filtered air.

To begin the study, the researchers tested how known cancer-causing chemicals found in regular cigarettes damaged a DNA sample.

In experiments on mice, Moon-Shong Tang, from New York University School of Medicine, and colleagues saw damage to the DNA and its ability to fix itself that elevate the risk of mutation and cancer development.

While many reports are split on how harmful e-cigarettes are for teens and adults, a new study is claiming that vaping is just as bad for you as picking up a real cigarette. The study seems to reaffirm the basic premise that e-cigarettes aren't as unsafe as tobacco products, but it isn't the first to suggest they (not to mention the various flavours added to them) have their own set of risks. Does this mean e-cigarettes can cause cancers in humans?

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Tang went on to look at human lung and bladder cells and found that exposing the cells to nicotine and its breakdown products made the cells turn into tumour tissue more easily. They then tested how various chemicals used in e-cigarettes affected DNA.

"Based on these results we propose that. In both conditions nicotine is in aerosol state and reaches lung via the same path". NNAL, another member of the nitrosamine family that damaged the smoking mice's DNA, was found to be reduced by 97% in E-cigarette smokers as opposed to tobacco smokers in another recent study.

But, according to them, the electronic cigarette nonetheless would be less harmful than the conventional cigarette and could help smokers stop.

All in all, a rather unclear picture emerges.

The research found that vaping does include fewer cancer causing chemicals than normal smoking but vapers could be at greater risk of lung and bladder cancers and heart diseases. Whether or not Tang's research into nicotine by-products changes that conclusion remains to be seen.

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