Does vaping really cause cancer?

If results of a new study would be considered, smokers should just stop smoking altogether instead of resorting to alternative habits like vaping. Preliminary findings of a new research conducted in the New York University show that vaping could possibly cause cancer and other heart diseases.

According to Professor Moon-shong Tang of the university’s environmental medicine, new evidence suggests that nicotine and the by-products of its combustion could bring about adverse effects to the lungs and bladder.

That initial conclusion was based on a series of laboratory experiments that exposed human lung and bladder cells as well as mice to e-cigarette vapor on a regular basis for three months. Professor Tang said his team noted DNA damage in hearts, lungs, and bladders of experimental mice after exposure, while those animals from a controlled group that breathed filtered air did not exhibit such effects.

Meanwhile, tumor tissues easily grew in lungs and bladder cells in a laboratory setup. More details of these findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

Screen grab from ‘Pilipinas Got Talent’ YouTube post (February 4, 2018 episode)

Vaping as a healthy alternative to smoking
Most smokers who intend to quit smoking and prevent the setbacks brought about by the habit tend to resort to vaping these days. E-cigarettes are considered by many as a healthier alternative as those small devices vaporize nicotine, the stimulating substance found in tobacco, without producing smoke. Initial findings of past studies have shown that the health hazards of tobacco smoking may not come from nicotine but from the combustion of all other chemicals and compounds contained in traditional cigarettes.

Moreover, more than 800 research efforts by the Washington, D.C.-based National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have found that e-cigarettes and vaping could be effective in helping smokers quit smoking. However, vaping could also work on the reverse—possibly serving as a gateway for adolescents and non-smokers to eventually get into traditional smoking.

No conclusions yet
But other experts think there is no need to draw conclusions about the possible adverse effects of vaping to health, yet. Some researchers continue to believe that findings of experiments using mice may be irrelevant to humans.

“This study shows nothing at all about the dangers of vaping,” said Queen Many University of London’s Tobacco Dependence Research Unit Director Peter Hajek. He added that the recent study in the U.S. does not show vaping as an actual cause of cancer.

Professor Tang, on the other hand, admitted that more work is needed to further determine if vaping could really increase the risks of developing cancer. He added that such new studies may take years to complete as cancer development is usually a slow process.