Hidden Dangers of E-Cigarettes Revealed by New Study

Written by Dr. Ahmed Zayed
Unhealthy Habit

Smoking is an unhealthy habit that increases the risk of a number of diseases and cancers. At the same time, smoking also speeds up the aging process, produces bad breath, and so much more.

E-cigarettes pose as a healthier alternative, a tool that people use to quit smoking or to decrease the frequency. Electronic cigarettes are particularly popular among teenagers. Although they are considered safe and perfectly harmless, the latest study shows that may not be the case.

Are E-Cigarettes Safe?

Electronic cigarettes work by delivering nicotine through aerosols without burning tobacco.

That’s why it is largely considered that these cigarettes aren’t carcinogenic. A group of scientists at the New York University School of Medicine carried out a study to investigate potential danger of e-cigarettes more thoroughly.

For the purpose of their study, scientists used mice assigned to control group and 10 male mice which were exposed to e-cigarette vapor containing 10mg of nicotine.

This amount of nicotine is almost equal to the amount that humans inhale 3 hours a day for 5 days a week. Mice were exposed to the vapor for 12 weeks.

Results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, revealed that mice exposed to e-cigarette vapor exhibited DNA damage in their lungs, heart, and bladder.

Interestingly, exposure to vapor from e-cigarettes delayed the process of lung tissue repair in exposed animals. The same type of damage was found in cultured human lung and bladder cells that were exposed to e-cigarette vapor for an equivalent of 10 years.

Co-author of the study, professor Moon-shong Tang, explained that findings from this study indicate e-cigarette smoke is carcinogenic. Also, persons who use e-cigarettes are at a higher risk of developing bladder and lung cancer and heart disease than non-smokers.

Electronic cigarettes

Not Everyone Agrees

Tang and the team found that e-cigarettes are not as harmless as we think they are and they could increase the risk of heart disease and cancers such as those affecting lungs and bladder. Not everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon, though.

Some scientists dismiss the study because it doesn’t really prove e-cigarettes are harmful to our health. They deduce that scientists used mice only and they exposed them to high levels of e-cigarette smoke, and the effects may be different for those who inhale nicotine from vaping.

The greatest concern for some scientists is the lack of human subjects and the absence of the specific link that would confirm that e-cigarettes cause cancer. As a result, the findings could discourage some people from using e-cigarettes although they are healthier for them than regular cigarettes.

Although some researchers disagree these findings are still meaningful because they show there is a lot we need to learn about e-cigarettes. Also, it is of huge importance to carry out studies on human participants and investigate all its effects.

E-Cigarette Facts

  • Earlier this year one study found that some e-cigarette flavorings could damage the heart. These flavorings included cinnamon, clove, citrus, and floral
  • One study found that e-cigarettes increase tobacco use among youth
  • Smokers who use e-cigarettes are less likely to quit smoking than their counterparts who don’t use them, research shows

Read NextE-Cigarettes Increasing Tobacco Use Among Youth, Study Finds


A group of scientists discovered that exposure to e-cigarette smoke causes DNA damage in heart, lungs, and bladder. As a result, they can increase the risk of heart disease and lung and bladder cancer.

Although the study showed that e-cigarette smoke can be carcinogenic, many scientists disagree. It is important to carry out more research on this subject to know for sure.

Image Credits
Feature image: Shutterstock.com
Post Image: dailyinfographic.com

Contributor : Dr. Ahmed Zayed ()

This Article Has Been Published on January 31, 2018 and Last Modified on January 2, 2019

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, currently he is working as a Plastic surgeon and is doing his masters at Ain Shams University. You can connect with him on Linkedin.

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