Electronic cigarettes are very popular these days and available in various brands. Many claims e-cigs have been helpful for them when it comes to quitting smoking. But, the truth is e-cigarettes are not totally harmless. So, one question being asked by some is can e-cigarettes cause cancer?
In a previous study, researchers found that vaping increases the risk of heart disease. This just proves that e-cigarettes are not totally safe. Another study1 published at PNAS also supports it. In this separate study, researchers say that the nicotine produced by vaping e-cigarettes may convert into chemicals that are damaging to the DNA.
These DNA-damaging chemicals are also found in tobacco. While e-cigarettes may contain less harmful chemicals than tobacco, it’s difficult to gamble using e-cigs when it could also damage the DNA potentially.
For now, these findings are based on mouse trials. Some critics say the findings are irrelevant to humans. There are already ongoing long-term experiments to monitor tumor progression in mice exposed to e-cig vapor. However, one of the researchers admits that it may take years to come up with the results as cancer is a slow process.
Can E-Cigarettes Cause Cancer?
Among the critics saying the findings are irrelevant to humans is Peter Hajek. He is the director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at the Queen Mary University of London.
This study shows nothing at all about the dangers of vaping. It doesn’t show that vaping causes cancer. This is one in a long line of false alarms which may be putting people off the switch from smoking to vaping which would undoubtedly be of great benefit to them. The best current estimate is that vaping poses, at worst, some 5% of risks of smoking.
The researchers exposed mice to e-cig smoke for 3 hours day, 5 days a week for a period of 3 months. The amount of nicotine contained in the vapor is 10mg per ml(milliliter), which is the same concentration as cigarette smoke that people inhale.
However, critic Peter Hajek says this is extremely large doses of nicotine.
At the end of the study, researchers found DNA damage in the hearts, bladders, and lungs of mice used in the study. On the other hand, the DNA damage was not evident in the control group breathing filtered air.
Moreover, the mice that were exposed to e-cig vapors have suppressed natural ability to naturally repair DNA. Additionally, looking at the lung and bladder cells, the breakdown products turn cells into tumor tissues easily when exposed to nicotine.
Should You Choose E-Cigs Over Tobacco?
Although e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco, they’re not totally safe. On the other hand, it is also true that e-cigs have been helpful for many smokers in quitting smoking.
However, when you switch to e-cigs for quitting smoking purposes, make sure you use it as a tool and not as a replacement for tobacco. Using it as a replacement for tobacco, may not be a good idea as its negative effect (although less harmful than tobacco) can accumulate over a long period of time.
Therefore, use it as a quitting tool to break free from tobacco addiction and not as a replacement for tobacco.