A new study concerning long term consumption of nicotine through the use of electronic cigarettes has concluded that it could increase the risks of certain cancers and heart disease.
Researchers from the faculty of medicine in the University of New York published the results of their laboratory work on mice and on human cells in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). They drew conclusions that are not likely to be good news for users of e-cigarettes, at least for people who use those containing nicotine. In fact, it is possible to vape the liquids without nicotine.
Until now, it was assumed that it was the burning of cigarettes that made smoking dangerous, although this study suggests that nicotine vapour is also harmful. As part of their study, the researchers exposed rodents to nicotine vapour, in quantities equivalent to around ten years of vaping in humans.
When they analysed the results, the researchers noticed damage in the DNA of the lung cells, the bladders and the hearts of the animals. By comparison to a control group of rodents, which had inhaled filtered air over the same period of time, they also noticed lower levels of reparatory proteins in the organs of the experimental group.
Additionally, similar results to those obtained with rodents were observed in human lung and bladder cells. These cells had been exposed to nicotine in the laboratory, as well as to a carcinogenic derivative of nicotine.
Moon-Shong Tang, professor of environmental medicine and pathology in the faculty of medicine in the University of New York, and principal author of the study, reports, “Although electronic cigarettes contain fewer carcinogenic substances than conventional cigarettes, vaping could present a greater risk of contracting lung or bladder cancer, as well as of developing heart disease”.
But given that the tobacco industry is one of the most powerful industries in the world, it is difficult to get clarity on the subject. This same report from the PNAS states that the nicotine contained in electronic cigarettes could lead to addiction in young people, predisposing them to smoking cigarettes. However, the authors acknowledge that vaping is far less toxic than traditional cigarettes, and has already helped many smokers to give up.