E-cig study shows smoking damages DNA; Vaping is 96 percent less harmful

E-cig study shows smoking damages DNA; Vaping is 96 percent less harmful

Everyone knows that smoking causes cancer, increases the risks of respiratory disease, and is bad for the heart, but did you know that it also causes DNA damage?  According to a study published by British American Tobacco (BAT), switching to vaping can improve reduce the associated risks bv as much as 96 percent.   

BAT scientists began by constructing a rather elaborate computer model of the human airway.  The three-dimensional model was then exposed to both the smoke from combustible cigarettes and e-cig vapor of the same level of nicotine concentration.  What the researchers discovered is that the tobacco cigarette smoke negatively affects an astonishing 873 different genes to some degree within a 24-hour period.  Meanwhile, another 205 exhibited some form of DNA mutation or other damage within the next 24-hour period. 

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Conversely, when the experiment was conducted on the e-cig vapor, only 4 genes were negatively affected within the first 48-hours.  That’s a remarkable 96.4 percent difference.   In fact, just to be safe, they scientists upped the nicotine concentration level in the e-liquid to well above that of the combustible cigarette.  Still, the results remained unchanged.  The BAT study entitled Reduced biological effect of e-cigarette aerosol compared to cigarette smoke evaluated in vitrousing normalized nicotine dose and RNA-seq-based toxicogenomics is readily available online.

Smoking, DNA damage, and lung cancer

While the significant differences in DNA damage rates are truly noteworthy, the BAT researchers also wanted to determine what sorts of ailments the identified mutations might produce.  So, they monitored the numerous genes for several biomarkers, including the following.

  • Metabolic/biosynthetic processes
  • Extracellular membrane
  • Apoptosis
  • Biosynthetic processes
  • Hypoxia
  • Multiple genotoxins and non-genotoxins
  • FNA damage signaling
  • Oxidative stress response rates
  • Extracellular membrane pathways

According to the research, the type of DNA damage identified is closely associated with increased risks of lung cancer, heart disease, fibrosis, and other respiratory disorders.  To be clear, BAT is a member of Big Tobacco.  So, why would such a company be interested in pro-vaping research?  Perhaps it is due to the current heat-not-burn trend hitting the marketplace.  BAT produces and markets such a device called the Vype ePen.

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