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August 22, 2018

Vaping, e-cigarettes can mutate users’ DNA, cause cancer, new research says

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vaping health risks PA Images/Sipa USA

This photo shows a man vaping. The preliminary results of new research says vaping, or e-cigarette use, can damage a person's DNA and lead to a higher risk of cancer.

A new study suggests that electronic cigarette use and vaping, increasingly popular alternatives to smoking, may cause mutations in users’ DNA and increase their risks of cancer, according to a summary of the research published by Science Daily.

The findings come from a preliminary study conducted by the American Chemical Society, and organization that is chartered by the U.S. Congress and describes itself as the world's largest scientific society. The study involved five people who use e-cigarettes or vapes, and a 15-minute usage session.

The research, which was presented at the ACS 256th National Meeting & Exposition on Aug. 20, found increased levels of three DNA-damaging compounds in the users’ saliva. 

Compared with people who don’t use e-cigarettes or vape, four of the five users showed increased DNA damage.

Silvia Balbo, Ph.D., works with the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota. She’s also the project’s lead investigator. Balbo said while it's true that more carcinogens arise from regular cigarettes versus e-cigarettes, but that doesn’t make e-cigarettes safe.

The researchers apparently plan to follow up this preliminary study with a larger one, which would involve both more users and more controls.

“We don’t really know the impact of inhaling the combination or compounds produced by (e-cigarettes),” Balbo said, and she added their findings in the preliminary study certainly warrant a closer look.


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