Vaping Causes Same DNA Damage as Smoking, Study Finds

DNA damage caused by smoking cigarettes is known to increase the risk of cancer later in life, and the findings of this new research add to the growing evidence about long-term side effects of vaping

People who vape face a similar level of DNA damage as those who smoke traditional tobacco cigarettes, according to the findings of a new study, which adds to the growing evidence that vaping electronic cigarettes may be just as dangerous as smoking.

Ecuadorian researchers report that there was no statistically significant difference when comparing the chromosome damage suffered by traditional smokers and those who vape, regardless of whether their e-cigarettes included tobacco or not. The findings were published in the April edition of Bionatura Journal.

Tobacco contains 70 different types of chemicals, many known to be cancer-causing, which can also increase the risk of damage to the DNA. E-cigarettes containing tobacco have more than 80 cancer-causing chemicals. While many people think vaping is a “healthier alternative” to smoking tobacco cigarettes, there has been overwhelming research that indicates e-cigarettes deliver similar amounts of tobacco and other toxic chemicals that may lead to serious health side effects, including cancer.

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In this latest study, researchers evaluated the chromosomal damage in people exposed to tobacco cigarettes and compared that to those who vape with nicotine and without nicotine, as well as a comparison to those who neither smoke nor vape. The study included 120 patients put into four groups: the non-smoking control group, conventional cigarette smokers, people who vape with nicotine, and those who vape without nicotine.

Researchers found similar levels of DNA damage among all smokers and those who vape. People in all three groups showed greater numbers of breaks and gaps in their chromosomes than those who did not smoke or vape.

Prior studies have suggested smoking tobacco cigarettes damage human DNA, which can lead to cancer later in life. In addition, other studies have echoed the new research, warning vaping may also lead to changes in human DNA, resulting in similar cancer risks.

Research published in 2023 indicated vaping also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and contributes to an increase in addiction. And as more teens are vaping, more experience the side effects of lung damage, cardiovascular disease, and major depression.

In response to the growing evidence that vaping may be no safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes, consumer advocates are calling for greater public health measures to help both smokers and vapers understand the risks associated with both cigarettes and e-cigarettes, since they each lead to an increased risk of damaged DNA.

“According to our data, electronic cigarettes, like traditional tobacco, are shown to be genotoxic, evaluated by chromosomal studies for fragility. Although electronic cigarettes without nicotine produce less chromosome damage, when compared to electronic cigarettes that do contain nicotine, the statistical differences show that they are equally genotoxic,” the researchers concluded. “A more significant number of studies and analyzed individuals are needed to evaluate the real genotoxicity of electronic cigarettes and to carry out educational and public health campaigns on the risks of their consumption.”

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