Are e-cigarettes safe alternatives to conventional cigarettes? Studies dispel the belief that vaping is harmless, cell and DNA damage confirmed in lab tests for nicotine and nicotine-free varieties.
E-cigarette smoking (or vaping) is an advocated alternative to conventional cigarettes, which has established links to respiratory diseases, cancer and other health complications. Some countries even encourage smokers to switch from smoking tobacco to e-cigarettes as safer alternative.
E-Cigarettes Safe Alternatives To Tobacco?
Recent studies raise concerns on the safety of e-cigarettes. As per Telegraph reports, even the World Health Organization confirms that vapers aren't exempt from health risks, contrary to the claims of e-cigarettes manufacturers and distributors.
Experiments were conducted on normal epithelial cells, the cells that make up the protective surface layer of organs, glands and cavities. Epithelial cells also cover the surface of the mouth and lungs. Results show the cells exposed to e-cigarette vapor still exhibited damage, which included DNA strand breaks.
DNA is composed of two helix strands of molecules intertwined. Cancer risks increase whenever either or both strands are broken or destroyed. Cells exposed to e-cigarette vapor were discovered to be vulnerable to necrosis, a process that leads to cell death.
The experiment used nicotine and nicotine-free variants of e-cigarettes; while the results confirmed the nicotine versions do more damage, it showed that even the nicotine-free e-cigarettes do enough to alter exposed cells, hastening DNA breaks by almost 50%.
E-Cigarette Companies Promoting New Addiction
Experts warn users of the health risks caused by e-cigarettes, which has been marketed as a healthy alternative to tobacco cigarettes ever since release. A PRI report says vaping companies are abetting nicotine addiction by promoting a new, 'healthier' alternative.
According to Aruni Bhatnagar, professor of medicine at the University of Louisville, "The problem is that they are at the same time making these e-cigarettes and flavors that would be quite at home at a birthday party of a third grader. So what are they trying to do, we think, is to recruit a new generation of nicotine addicts by enticing them with this variety of different flavors."
Bhatnagar says tests on the effects of vape smoking remain inconclusive. E-cigarette companies, on the other hand, are promoting products products with insufficient data on cause and effects. "We do not know to what level or to what extent these devices are safe," he said.