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E-cig study: Vaping causes 96 percent less DNA damage than smoking

A European e-cig study is offering evidence that the potential for DNA damage or mutation dramatically decreases when smokers switch to vaping.  The scientists began their research by building an elaborate three-dimensional computer model of a typical human airway before then exposing the 3D model to both e-cig vapor and cigarette smoke of precisely the same nicotine concentrations.

In the second dosage, the researchers allegedly doubled the concentrations.  What they discovered is that a whopping 873 genes were negatively affected by the cigarette smoke within the first 24-hour period.  And another 205 genes experienced DNA damage or mutation after 48-hours.

Meanwhile, only four genes within 48-hours experienced any sort of adverse effects as a direct result of exposure to e-cig vapor.  This is a difference of approximately 96.4 percent.

Strangely, the research was funded by none other than the Big Tobacco company British American Tobacco (BAT).  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.

DNA damage from smoking associated with lung cancer

Besides the 96 percent decrease in DNA damage, the BAT scientists further concluded that the genetic damage caused from exposure to cigarette smoke through the course of their study is the same variety that is already well-documented as leading causes for lung cancer, fibrosis, heart disease, and other respiratory disorders.

“The results show that cigarette smoke and e-cigarette aerosol droplets are effectively delivered to cell surfaces¹. On a puff by puff basis and at a common dilution, the e-cigarette aerosol deposited greater mass but less nicotine than cigarette smoke, but the mass deposited was compositionally very different. E-cigarette aerosol droplets contain mainly humectants, water, nicotine and flavouring, whereas smoke droplets carry thousands of chemicals and hundreds of toxicants from combustion.”

BAT press release

Why is this Big Tobacco company so quick to publish seemingly anti-tobacco research suggesting that vaping is healthier than smoking?  Many vapers might be surprised to learn that BAT has been publishing pro-vaping research like this for quite some time.

Part of the reason for the company’s sudden change in narrative tone is likely due to their 2013 release of a new cigalike device called Vype ePen.  In fact, one previously released research study has openly suggested that their Vype product is 95 percent less harmful than conventional cigarettes – the company’s main product.   The prior 2016 study entitled Chemical Composition of Aerosol from an E-Cigarette: A Quantitative Comparison with Cigarette Smoke is also readily available for review on the medical journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.


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