A new study led by Moon-shong Tang, a professor of environmental medicine at New York University (NYU), in which researchers studied the effects of electronic cigarettes on human cells and mice has found evidence that the nicotine-laced aerosol produced by such devices may increase the risk of specific cancers as well as heart disease.
The study’s findings suggest that the aerosol or “vapor” produced by e-cigs can actually convert into DNA-damaging chemicals.
The mice involved in the trial were exposed to the aerosol produced by e-cigarettes for three hours a day, five days a week. This went on for three months. During which period, the mice were exposed to an aerosol containing 10 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter, which Peter Hajek, the director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London, referred to as “extremely large doses of nicotine.”
Hajek, who was not involved in the study, was quoted by The Guardian as having said that the study “shows nothing at all about the dangers of vaping” and that it “doesn’t show that vaping causes cancer.”
“This study shows nothing at all about the dangers of vaping (…) It doesn’t show that vaping causes cancer.”
He went on to refer to it as “one in a long line of false alarms which may be putting people off the switch from smoking to vaping which would undoubtedly be of great benefit to them” while adding that the best current estimate shows that electronic cigarettes are around 95 percent less harmful than traditional cigarettes.
The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Regardless of what the study’s critics think, the researchers behind the newly published study intend on continuing their research as they have reportedly launched a series of long-term experiments with the intent of examining the development of tumors in mice exposed to e-cigarette vapor.
By Tang’s account, it “may take years” for the research to provide any new revelations due to the relatively slow speed at which cancer develops.