If you’ve been misled by the latest vape news headlines indicating that a new study led by a New York University professor has found that vaping could cause cancer, we’re here to set the record straight. The study’s findings do not translate into a link between the development of cancer in humans and vaping. No, not at all.
The reality is that the new study didn’t even examine vaping’s impact on humans. Instead, the researchers exposed mice, not humans, to what some might refer to as extreme quantities of nicotine infused vapor. And with that said, the researchers behind the study didn’t actually look at whether or not e-cigarettes cause cancer in mice or humans. Instead, they examined the affects of e-cigarette vapor on cells’ DNA.
Based on their findings, e-cigarette vapor can cause damage to DNA in the hearts, bladders, and lungs of healthy mice. In addition, they found that cells in the lungs of the mice that are used to repair DNA were less effective after having been exposed to the vapor produced by e-cigs.
The researchers also examined the impact of nicotine on lab-grown human lung and bladder cells. They found that exposing the cells to nicotine damaged the cells’ DNA while reducing their ability to repair the damage. But again, these weren’t humans, they were human cells grown in a petri dish.
So if you read a report like this one published on New Scientist titled “Vaping could cause cancer – but it’s still safer than smoking” – then there’s a chance you’ve already been misled. While there’s a chance that vaping could technically cause cancer, that is not a conclusion that the study’s findings confirm. Rather, the findings suggest that it is, technically speaking, a possibility. The latter part of that title, however, is accurate based on the latest scientific findings which do indicate that vaping is safer than smoking, significantly so – somewhere to the tune of 95 percent safer. And to further clarify, the study, which was led by NYU professor Moon-shong Tang, did not compare vaping to smoking.
An even more misleading title that we saw was that of a video shared on WorldstarHipHop which read: “New Study Warns Vaping Causes Cancer” – a title that simply could not be more misleading.
The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Basically, at this point, there is insufficient evidence to conclude that vaping causes cancer. Whether it does or doesn’t is a conclusion that this new study does not address. However, its findings are certainly interesting and while inconclusive, they do add yet another piece to the puzzle. But for real answers, we’ll all just have to wait for scientists to reveal more clues through their research and ultimately, wait for the long-term studies that will hopefully unlock some of the mysteries of vaping.