E-cigarettes may be no better than normal cigarettes – study

© Mark Blinch
E-cigarettes may be just as harmful as regular tobacco smoking, it has been claimed, after laboratory tests showed vapor can damage cells.

The news comes after Prime Minister David Cameron and health experts gave their endorsement to ‘vaping’ as a legitimate means of giving up cigarettes.

Based on the evidence to date, I believe they are no better than smoking regular cigarettes,” claims Dr Jessica Wang-Rodriguez, co-author of the new study published in the Oral Oncology journal.

Scientists exposed one set of cells to vapor with nicotine and another set of cells without. They found both sets of cells were more damaged than those exposed to no vapor at all.

There have been many studies showing that nicotine can damage cells. But we found that other variables can do damage as well,” Wang-Rodriguez said.

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.

She conceded the results seen in cells in the lab may not be replicated in a human being and that more tests would be necessary.

Writing in the Oral Oncology journal, the researchers concluded: “Our study strongly suggests that electronic cigarettes are not as safe as their marketing makes them appear to the public.

Vaporized e-cig liquids induce increased DNA strand breaks and cell death,” they said.

In December, Cameron told the Commons e-cigarettes are a “legitimate” way of improving health following a report by Public Health England, which said e-smoking was 95 percent safer than regular tobacco smoking.