E-Cigarettes Are As Harmful As Tobacco Cigarettes, Finds Study

E-Cigarettes have been accepted as the best possible substitute of tobacco cigarettes by every smoker who wants to live a longer life but for how long? This is the question that has been the topic of many debates and people have come up with their theories about E-Cigarettes and their pros as well as cons, if any.

With the rise in popularity comes more scrutiny and that has been the case with E-Cigarettes. For some, it might seem to be a waste of time as these electronic cigarettes are not as harmful as regular ones but there are others who have a million dollar question, Is E-Cigarette the best possible solution to quit smoking and aren’t they putting your health in danger just like tobacco cigarettes?

E-Cigarettes
image source: business-standard.com

However, the E-Cigarettes business is booming worldwide and more and more teens are getting attracted to this new technology that gives them a gateway to run from their inferiorities. There are many who will advise you to opt for e-cigarettes if you are not able to quit smoking completely but this the same advice we are going to thrash today.

According to a study at the University of Connecticut, E-cigarettes might be as harmful as regular tobacco cigarettes and Karteek Kadimisetty, the lead author of the study said, “From the results of our study, we can conclude that e-cigarettes have as much potential to cause DNA damage as unfiltered regular cigarettes”.

For a layman, DNA Damage might have already triggered a sense of danger but there is more to the study and by the end of it, you will question your decision of opting E-Cigarettes, for sure.

The battery-powered E-cigarettes heat up a liquid and turn it into an aerosol vapor which can be inhaled, giving the process another name, ‘vaping.’ The contents of e-cigarettes, commonly known as e-liquid or e-juice, are made up of propylene glycol, nicotine, glycerine, and flavor chemicals such as menthol, vanilla, cherry, or mint.

Scientists looked into the possibility of whether these chemicals in e-cigarettes cause damage to human DNA and tested it with a newly developed electro-optical screening device. The small 3D printed device is said to be the first of its kind and is capable of quickly detecting DNA damage or genotoxicity.

How does it work?

  • The electro-optical screening device uses micropumps to push liquid samples in multiple ‘microwells’ which are embedded in a small carbon chip. The reactive human metabolic enzymes and DNA are pre-loaded in the microwells and as the samples drop into them, it forms new metabolites having the potential to cause DNA damage.
  • The 3D printed device captures the light that is generated by reactions between the metabolites and DNA.
  • Within the next five minutes, researchers were able to see how much relative DNA damage was caused by a sample while studying the intensity of the light detected in each well.
  • The small carbon chip is disposable and costs only a dollar, thanks to recent advances in 3D printing.

The results

  • Since an earlier study stated that 20 puffs from an E-Cigarette cause as much DNA damage caused a single tobacco stick, the researchers used the same ratio and collected samples at 20, 60 and 100 puffs.
E-Cigarettes
image source: sciencedaily.com
  • By the end of their research, it was concluded that, as the number of puffs increased, so did the possibility of DNA damage which can cause lung, mouth and throat cancer.
  • The amount of DNA damage e-cigarettes can cause, directly depends on the amount of vapor a user inhales, possibly due to the chemical additives present in them, whether nicotine or non-nicotine.

The study completely contradicts the advice given by Public Health England (PHE), which said last year that vaping is 95% less harmful than tobacco cigarettes and asked NHS to promote e-cigarettes to help people quit smoking.

Now, people use e-cigarettes heavily as they think there is no harm and even National Health Service (NHS) Smokefree campaign says that since E-Cigarettes don’t produce tar or carbon monoxide, they are much better for smokers.

However, there is the flipside to the use of E-Cigarettes. With the popularity of these electronic devices on a rise, more and more teens are getting attracted to e-cigarettes and in many cases, their dependency on nicotine forces them to opt regular cigarettes, which is a great cause of concern.

Frequently viewed as the less toxic alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes, should E-Cigarettes be still part of global smoke-free campaigns?

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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