New Study Suggest Vaping Could Cause Cancer, Heart Disease

Casey Dawson
February 2, 2018

But a new study suggests that may not be enough.

Typically, an e-cigarette is filled with chemicals like propylene glycol, glycerine, nicotine, and flavorings such as menthol or mint. The nicotine in these devices is dissolved in a relatively innocuous liquids such as glycerol (which is used as a filler in cookies) and propylene glycol, which is safe enough to put in ice cream. And there's some early evidence that teen e-cigarette users are more likely to make the leap to tobacco smoking as they grow up, while others might become addicted to nicotine when they wouldn't have otherwise. This list of extra chemicals includes allergens, irritants, and cancer-causing carcinogens.

"Based on these results, we propose that [e-cigarette vapour] is carcinogenic and that E-cig smokers have a higher risk than nonsmokers to develop lung and bladder cancer and heart diseases", they wrote.

Many are anxious that the mild flavor of ECS will hook young people on nicotine, encouraging teenagers to smoke tobacco in the future. This processing results in chemical by-products such as nitrosamines.

Lance Norman, CEO of Hāpai Te Hauora believes these findings indicate that the government is heading in the right direction in helping reducing the harm of tobacco consumption.

According to the report, "There is conclusive evidence that completely substituting combustible tobacco cigarettes for e-cigarettes, reduces users' exposure to numerous toxicants and carcinogens present in combustible tobacco cigarettes".

It would have been nice if this study had taken the extra step of exposing mice to tobacco smoke as well, and then compared them head-to-head against the mice that inhaled e-cigarette vapor, said Anthony Alberg. Tang explains that this level of exposure is equivalent to 10 years of light smoking (about 10 cigarettes a day), although stresses the estimation isn't exact.

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The study suggests that the way the body metabolises nicotine is what causes mutations in DNA to form.

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. Their organs were likewise less able to fix DNA. In 2016, the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called e-cigarette use among American youth a "major public health concern", citing a 900 percent growth rate among high school students.

Give up Vaping to Avoid Cancer?

Experiments conducted on mice and cultured human cells show that nicotine in e-cigarette vapors may cause changes in the DNA that may elevate cancer risk. "In both conditions nicotine is in aerosol state and reaches lung via the same path".

Health officials say serious health consequences are possible if young people use tobacco in any form.

Vaping could increase the risk of youth smoking but would be less risky to health than smoking cigarettes, according to a report from the Academies of Science and Medicine published Tuesday, presented as the most extensive on the subject so far.

All in all, a rather unclear picture emerges.

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