E-cigarettes may raise cancer risk

Many people view e-cigarettes as a safe alternative to smoking, which explains its growing popularity around the world. Today, researchers report that vaping may modify the genetic material, or DNA, in the oral cells of users, which could increase their cancer risk.

Introduced to the market in 2004, e-cigarettes are handheld electronic devices that heat a liquid, usually containing nicotine, into an aerosol that the user inhales. Different flavors of liquids are available, including many that appeal to youth, such as fruit, chocolate and candy. According to a 2016 report by the U.S. Surgeon General, 13.5 percent of middle school students, 37.7 percent of high school students and 35.8 percent of young adults (18 to 24 years of age) have used e-cigarettes, compared with 16.4 percent of older adults (25 years and up).

The researchers recruited five e-cigarette users, collected saliva samples before and after a 15-minute vaping session and analyzed the samples for chemicals that are known to damage DNA. They identified three DNA-damaging compounds, formaldehyde, acrolein and methylglyoxal, whose levels increased in the saliva after vaping. Compared with people who don’t vape, four of the five e-cigarette users showed increased DNA damage related to acrolein exposure. The type of damage, called a DNA adduct, occurs when toxic chemicals, such as acrolein, react with DNA. If the cell does not repair the damage so that normal DNA replication can take place, cancer could result.

This is the preliminary study and the researchers will carry on a larger study with more e-cigarette users involved. 

 

 

 

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.