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Written by Naveen Athrappully
Vaping can cause more damage to DNA compared to smoking regular cigarettes, according to a new study which also found that both vapers and smokers had more than twice the DNA damage of nonusers
The study, published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research on Feb. 14, collected samples of epithelial cells from test participants’ mouths, testing them for genetic damage.
The researchers found that vapers had 2.6 times more DNA damage compared to nonusers while smokers had 2.2 times the DNA damage compared to nonusers.
This indicates that vaping can be more damaging to the DNA than smoking cigarettes.
DNA damage to the oral epithelial cells lining the mouth is a change that is associated with a higher risk for several chronic diseases, including cancer.
The e-cigarette industry came into prominence on the premise that vaping is a safer alternative to smoking regular cigarettes, a claim that has never been proven. The results of the study counter such claims.
When checking the effect of devices used by vapers in the study, those who used pods were found to have the highest DNA damage, followed by participants who resorted to mods. Sweet-flavored vapes were linked with the highest level of DNA damage, followed by mint-menthol flavor and fruit flavored variants.
“For the first time, we showed that the more vapers used e-cigarettes, and the longer they used them, the more DNA damage occurred in their oral cells,” said Ahmad Besaratinia, the study’s senior author and a professor at the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California, according to a Feb. 13 post by the university. “The same pattern held up in smokers.”
“The devices and flavors that are most popular and highly consumed by youth vapers, as well as adults, are the ones that are associated with the most DNA damage,” Besaratinia said. “Clearly these results have significant implications, both for public health and regulatory agencies.”
The study was conducted on 72 healthy adults split into three groups: current vapers who had never smoked cigarettes, current smokers who had never used a vape, and individuals with no history of either vaping or smoking.
Vaping Among US Adults and Youth
According to a Gallup poll published on Aug. 17, 2022, 8 percent of Americans reported using e-cigarettes in the previous week. Vaping was found to be more common among Americans who had a history of smoking cigarettes than among those who had never smoked.
Data from the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found a high prevalence of vaping among minors.
“E-cigarette use among youth remains a top concern for the FDA. In 2022, about 1 in 10 or more than 2.5 million U.S. middle and high school students currently used e-cigarettes (past 30-day),” the FDA said, adding that 14.1 percent (2.14 million) of high school students and 3.3 percent (380,000) of middle school students reported current e-cigarette use.
More than 1 in 4 youth e-cigarette users used the product every day while more than 4 in 10 reported using it in at least 20 of the previous 30 days. Almost 85 percent used flavored e-cigarettes.
In an interview posted at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), Irfan Rahman, who studies biological mechanisms involved in e-cigarette and tobacco toxicity, said that vaping delivers nicotine to the lungs in ways that might seem safe but are actually dangerous to lung health.
“During vaping, e-cigarette vapors, which include toxic chemicals, are inhaled into the lungs. Beyond nicotine, vaping can deliver substances such as vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, volatile organic chemicals, anti-freezing agents, metals, and many other compounds,” he said.
“There are also many flavorants [flavoring chemicals] used in various e-cigarettes. All of these substances get into users’ air sacs, where oxygen transfer occurs. The chemicals replace oxygen, and they can cause irritability in the lung as well as breathing difficulties.”
The use of nicotine, a key ingredient in vapes, can be damaging to the brains of teenagers.
According to the CDC, nicotine usage during adolescence can harm the part of the brain associated with attention, learning, mood, and impulse control.
See more here theepochtimes.com
Header image: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
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