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E-Cigarettes Can Damage Your DNA and Increase Your Risk of CANCER, Study Says
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E-Cigarettes Can Damage Your DNA and Increase Your Risk of CANCER, Study Says

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MINNESOTA — August 20, 2018

The e-cigarette market is growing at a tremendous rate, thereby gaining popularity worldwide. Several key vendors are introducing next generation vapor products such as so-called Heat-not-Burn devices, e-vapor, smoke vapes, smokeless tobacco products, cig-a-likes, and reduced risk products (RRP) cigarettes due to the increasing popularity of e-cigarettes.

The recent developments in the vapor products market are the introduction of vaping devices or battery-powered inhalers. These vaping products allegedly reduce the risk of tobacco-related diseases by eliminating the inhalation of tar and other toxicants by active and passive smokers. As a product's manufacturers told, E-cigarettes/e-vapor and HnB devices are designed to simulate tobacco smoking, without any harmful additives and even more so without tobacco.

About one billion people in the world fall under the category of tobacco smokers, constituting approximately 13% of the total world population. According to the World Health Organization data, around 7 million people die due to tobacco smoking annually, out of which 890,000 die due to passive smoking.

In its turn, according to the latest statistics from the WHO, there has been a small but steady decrease in the estimated number of smokers globally since 2000 - from 1.14 billion then to about 1.1 billion now.

But it's a different matter when it comes to vaping.

The number of vapers has been increasing rapidly - from about seven million in 2011 to 40 million in 2017.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, about 1 in 10 children and 1 in 5 teenagers in the United States have smoked e-cigarettes. In a 2014 study of school-going children, as many as 1 in 4 high school students and 1 in 13 middle school students used a tobacco or nicotine-containing product within the 30 days prior to the questionnaire. This finding represents a 3-fold increase in use compared to only 1 year earlier, and numbers are likely higher in other countries.

Market research group Euromonitor estimates that the number of adults who vape will reach almost 55 million by 2021.

The new study from the University of Minnesota showed that vaping can damage the DNA in your mouth, which in turn, increases your risk of cancer.

The data was present at the 256th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

According to the study, E-cigarettes is often present as safer alternatives to cigarettes, but it may be more dangerous than thought. In particular, the greatest harm brings vaping, it can damage the DNA in your mouth, which in turn, increases your risk of cancer.

"It's clear that more carcinogens arise from the combustion of tobacco in regular cigarettes than from the vapor of e-cigarettes," says Silvia Balbo, the project's lead investigator, who is at the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota. "However, we don't really know the impact of inhaling the combination of compounds produced by this device. Just because the threats are different doesn't mean that e-cigarettes are completely safe."

For the study, Dator and lead investigator Silvia Balbo collected saliva samples from five e-cigarette smokers before and after a 15-minute vaping session and tested them for chemicals that are known to damage DNA. Also, they assessed DNA damage in the cells in the volunteers’ mouths.

Balbo, who led the study, said: “It's clear that more carcinogens arise from the combustion of tobacco in regular cigarettes than from the vapor of e-cigarettes.

”However, we don't really know the impact of inhaling the combination of compounds produced by this device.

To assess the potential health effects of e-cigarette usage, the researchers used mass spectrometry-based techniques to check for DNA damage in the cells of the participants’ mouths.

The results showed that the levels of three DNA-damaging compounds - formaldehyde, acrolein, and methylglyoxal - increased in the saliva after vaping.

"This DNA damages, consisting of three, referred to as a DNA adduct, arises when toxic chemicals react with DNA," Balbo said. "If the damage is not repaired by cells, normal DNA replication cannot occur, which increases the risk of cancer."

Next, the team plans to conduct a larger study involving more participants and to compare the level of DNA adducts between people who vape and people who smoke regular cigarettes.

“Comparing e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes is really like comparing apples and oranges. The exposures are completely different," Balbo said. “We still don't know exactly what these e-cigarette devices are doing and what kinds of effects they may have on health, but our findings suggest that a closer look is warranted."

There are also several myths about the use of e-cigarettes.

1. Some researchers say that e-cigarettes help people to give up smoking. In this regard, more recent trials with appropriate study design and unbiased participants have shown no higher efficacy of e-cigarettes in smoking cessation compared to other nicotine replacement approaches.

According to a Lancet study only 7.3% of e-cigarette users ceased smoking combustible cigarettes at 6 months compared to 5.8% using conventional nicotine patches, a difference that was not significant.

Instead it, people are using both e-cigarettes indoors as well as combustible cigarettes outdoors. Thus total nicotine intake may increase because of this dual use.

2. Despite the e-cigarettes products managers say that it’s don't contain tobacco, it is a well-known fact that the vast majority (99%) of e-cigarette liquids contain nicotine, so vaping exposes the user to the toxic effects of nicotine. Everyone knows about the dangers of nicotine.

3. Some people say that e-cigarettes don't cause addiction. It is written in the first paragraph above that a person trying to give up smoking cigarettes, gets into a new addiction to e-cigarettes, and then smokes twice as much.

Two of the key actions of nicotine in regions of the brain associated with memory and addiction are histone acetylation and microRNA expression. Histones control gene expression by wrapping around DNA and preventing transcription. MicroRNAs bind gene targets and block translation. Both of these epigenetic mechanisms alter gene expression and can have life-long consequences. These mechanisms can explain why addicts can experience relapse years after abstinence.

The World Health Organization has also cited several health concerns associated with vaping. Among them:

  • The long-term effects are unknown
  • Nicotine in the liquid that is vapourised in an e-cigarette is addictive
  • Users replacing the liquid in refillable e-cigarettes might spill the product on their skin, possibly leading to nicotine poisoning

Some sweeter flavors of e-cigarettes are irritants, potentially causing inflammation of the airways.

Author: USA Really