Published: Thu, February 01, 2018
Health Care | By Alberto Manning

Vaping damages DNA, may increase cancer & heart disease risk

Vaping damages DNA, may increase cancer & heart disease risk

In a new study, scientists warned that nicotine in e-cigarettes could convert into DNA-damaging chemicals.

"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", reads the research. They then observed that when the cells treated with nicotine were subsequently exposed to environmental causes of mutation, such as UV rays, the nicotine-exposed cells had between two and four times more spontaneous mutations, suggesting that the nicotine predisposed cells to mutation from other sources.

E-cigarettes may carry health risks, but these are nowhere near the risks of continuing to smoke tobacco.

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.

A recent report on e-cigarettes have found that they are not toxic and are in fact less unsafe that regular cigarettes. According to the chemists, the damage caused by vaping increased as a person took more puffs of an e-cigarette.

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One of the United Kingdom's leading charities, Cancer Research UK, has recognised the potential health gains from giving smokers accurate information about e-cigarettes, launching a campaign to inform smokers why e-cigarettes are safer and encouraging them to try vaping if they would like to quit. Vaping May help adults quit smoking but may entice young people to smoke conventional tobacco. They then tested how various chemicals used in e-cigarettes affected DNA. "Based on these results I can not conclude that E-cig smoke is safer than tobacco smoke in terms of cancer susceptibility of smokers".

For their experiment, Tang and his colleagues exposed laboratory mice to e-cigarette vapor, which contains both nicotine and liquid solvents. "But compared to smoking, the evidence so far shows they are less harmful", it said in statement.

All in all, a rather unclear picture emerges.

The 600-page report by America's National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (an independent government body) says that smokers who switch to e-cigarettes will benefit. Whether or not Tang's research into nicotine by-products changes that conclusion remains to be seen.

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