E-cigarettes and DNA damage

Vaping and e-cigarettes have gained considerable popularity as a less harmful alternative to traditional cigarettes

Moon-shong Tang and colleagues found that mice exposed to ECS had higher levels of DNA damage in the heart, lungs, and bladder, compared with control mice exposed to filtered air. On the one hand, there are doctors and advocates who insist that vaping is a relatively safe, appealing way for smokers to wean themselves off much more risky tobacco products. These results indicate that smokers have much to gain by switching to e-cigarettes.

"It would seem clear based on the number of toxic substances and the lack of combustion that e-cigarettes should be lower risk than tobacco cigarettes". That's the verdict of a new study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that examined how nicotine inhalation without burning tobacco affects genetic material.

The paper, written by scientists at New York University, claims that nicotine inhaled from an e-cigarette could result in DNA damage as it is converted into chemicals which are harmful to the heart, lungs, bladder and DNA fix functions.

A recent report on e-cigarettes have found that they are not toxic and are in fact less risky that regular cigarettes. Their organs were likewise less able to fix DNA. The study estimates that the risk of one cigarette per day is greater than previously thought and equals about half the risk of smoking 20 cigarettes a day. Some people are becoming vaping fans because they think there's no danger involved.

Nevertheless, an important point to consider is that other health risks associated with smoking tobacco are most definitely avoided by e-cigarettes.

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The team from New York University exposed mice and human bladder and lung cells to e-cigarette smoke and found DNA changes that were similar to those observed with secondhand smoke.

The researchers exposed the animals to e-cigarette vapors that contain both nicotine and a liquid solvent.

The researchers said that if the findings will be confirmed in future studies, it could mean that e-cigarettes, always been considered to be the safer alternative to traditional cigarette and tobacco products, also carry cancer risk through the nicotine that they deliver.

Ultimately, whether these trends could lead to a whole new set of problems decades down the road is still a question for which we don't really have a good answer.

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