E-Cigarette Chemicals May Damage Cells and Lead to Cancer


File photo dated 24/10/14 of a man smoking an electronic cigarette as "vaping" can help traditional cigarette smokers kick the habit or at least cut down, a study has found. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday December 17, 2014. The UK and New Zealand researchers behind the Cochrane Library review say the results are encouraging but that more studies are needed. Electronic cigarettes work by vaporising a solution that usually contains nicotine. The review drew on data from 662 smokers across two randomised trials, and found that about 9% of those who used electronic cigarettes were able to quit smoking by the one-year mark - more than twice the rate of those using nicotine-free placebo devices. Among people who did not quit, 36% of those smoking e-cigarettes cut down on the number of cigarettes they were smoking by half, while 28% of those using the placebo devices were able to halve their cigarette consumption. See PA story HEALTH Vaping. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wirehttp://images.scienceworldreport.com/data/images/full/16934/e-cigarette.jpg?w=680
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate e-cigarettes like it does conventional tobacco products. However, it has warned of possible health risks. So far, though, evidence is limited on what exactly e-cigarettes contain and whether those chemicals are safe, particularly in terms of cancer.
“There haven’t been many good lab studies on the effects of these products on actual human cells,” said Jessica Wang-Rodriguez, one of the researchers, in a news release.
In this latest study, the researchers created an extract from the vapor of two popular brands of e-cigarettes. They then used the extract to treat human cells in Petri dishes. Compared with untreated cells, the treated cells were more likely to show DNA damage and die.
The exposed cells showed several forms of damage, including DNA strand breaks. The familiar double helix that makes up DNA has two long strands of molecules that intertwine; when one or both of these strands break apart and the cellular repair process doesn’t work right, the stage is set for cancer.
In fact, the affected cells were more likely to launch into apoptosis and necrosis, which lead to cell death.
“There have been many studies showing that nicotine can damage cells,” said Wang-Rodriguez. “But we found that other variables can do damage as well. It’s not that the nicotine is completely innocent in the mix, but it looks like the amount of nicotine that the cells are exposed to by e-cigarettes is not sufficient by itself to cause these changes. There must be other components in the e-cigarettes that are doing this damage. So we may be identifying other carcinogenic components that are previously undescribed.”
The findings reveal the importance of regulation for these e-cigarettes. More specifically, it shows the compounds in these electronic cigarettes may be just as harmful as regular cigarettes.

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