Vaping damages DNA and may increase a person’s risk for cancer, according to new data set to be presented at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting.
This finding comes from researchers at the University of Minnesota, who took saliva samples from five e-cigarette users before and after they smoked for 15 minutes. Once they collected the samples, the team analyzed the material for chemicals believed to damage DNA.
That revealed all participants had higher levels of the DNA-damaging compounds formaldehyde, acrolein, and methylglyoxal in their saliva after vaping. In addition, they had more DNA damage than non e-cigarettes users as well.
Though such damage does not always lead to serious problems, it can allow cancer to develop.
“E-cigarettes are a popular trend, but the long-term health effects are unknown,” said study co-author Romel Dator, a researcher at the University of Minnesota, according to Newsweek. “We want to characterize the chemicals that vapers are exposed to, as well as any DNA damage they may cause.”
However, despite the new findings, the team says that vapers should not switch to traditional cigarettes. It is more that both are potentially dangerous and could lead to problems down the line.
Little is known about the effects of vaping, but studies like this one show that it is not completely safe.
While there needs to be more research to prove that vaping causes cancer, the damaged DNA uncovered in the study suggests that more research should be conducted on that link.
“Comparing e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes is really like comparing apples and oranges,” said project leader Silvia Balbo, a researcher at the University of Minnesota, according to Medical Xpress. “The exposures are completely different. We still don’t know exactly what these e-cigarette devices are doing and what kinds of effects they may have on health, but our findings suggest that a closer look is warranted.”