Research shows 96% REDUCTION in DNA damage when switching to vaping

Once again, the mainstream media is pushing another bogus headline which denounces vaping as a safe and effective tool for tobacco harm reduction.  The latest falsehood being spread online contends that vaping causes DNA damage at the cellular level while simultaneously increasing the vaper’s risks of several forms of cancer.   

This convoluted story derives from a research study conducted by scientists from the University of Minnesota.  However, it is not entirely the fault of the study’s co-authors as to why the paper’s findings are being intentionally misconstrued by the media.  The published findings clearly state that the DNA damage from smoking is significantly more severe than that of vaping, but American journalists fail to make this point clear in their articles’ headlines.   They intentionally manipulate the scientific evidence towards an anti-vaping stance, largely in a feeble attempt to obtain clicks.

Vaping and DNA damage: The cold, hard facts

However, there is at least one very well-known vaping study already in existence which refutes these claims.  The 2016 paper entitled Chemical Composition of Aerosol from an E-Cigarette: A Quantitative Comparison with Cigarette Smoke published in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology shows e-cig vapor is 96 percent less harmful to human DNA than the smoke from combustible cigarettes.  Even more noteworthy, the study was conducted by Big Tobacco – more specifically The British American Tobacco Company (BAT).

Related Article:  Research shows vaporized propylene glycol in vaping kills airborne bacteria

BAT scientists began their research by building a highly detailed computer 3D model of the human respiratory system right down to the DNA.   They exposed the model to both e-cig vapor and cigarette smoke while measure their effects on over 1000 different genes.  The scientists discovered a multitude of interesting findings, including the following.

  • Within the first 24-hours of exposure to cigarette smoke, some 843 human genes were negatively affected.
  • Within the first 48-hours of exposure to cigarette smoke, another 205 genes exhibited measurable DNA damage.
  • Meanwhile, within the first 48-hours of exposure to e-cig vapor, only 4 genes exhibited measurable adverse effects of any kind, resulting in a 96.4 reduction in potential DNA damage overall.

“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 would a Big Tobacco company publish such seeming pro-vaping research?  First of all, the study was conducted in the UK where vaping is significantly more widely accepted than in the United States.  Secondly, in an effort to be fair and balanced, readers should further note that Big Tobacco might be finally seeing the proverbial writing on the wall when it comes to the future of vaping versus smoking.  Big Tobacco is behind the Heat-not-Burn movement, the iQOS devices which look very much like vaping technology but still rely on the use of tobacco leaves to function properly.  E-liquids used in vaping, on the other hand, remain 100% tobacco-free.   

Related Article:  One-year study indicates vaping reduces high blood pressure in smoking patients

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