Several recent studies put e-cigs in a bad light

Close up of inhaling from an electronic cigarette.

Not one, not two, but three recent studies make it seem that e-cigs are not as benign as the c-cig industry (and e-cig professional shill Michael Siegel, who surprisingly has not offered a rebuttal yet … I’m sure he’s still collating) would have you believe.

One study states that e-cigarettes increase the risk of heart disease and cancer. Another study states that e-cigs increase cigarette use among teens. And the third suggests that e-cigs increase the risk of pneumonia.

I’m sure at some point Michael Siegel, professional e-cig shill, will explain in painfully excruciating and mind-numbing detail why every single one of these studies is bullshit.

Anyway … enough about him. Let’s go one by one on these studies.

The first study, from  New York University, suggests that vaping increases the risk of cancer and heart disease by damaging DNA.

From a Washington News Square article:

An NYU School of Medicine’s study, lead by Dr. Moon-Shong Tang, a professor at the Department of Environmental Medicine and Pathology, found evidence to suggest a link between e-cigarette smoking and increased risk of heart disease and cancer. According to the researchers, these risks may also apply to second hand smoke.

The study exposed laboratory mice to electronic cigarette vapor for 12 weeks. The dose and duration of nicotine exposure in the study, however, was equivalent to 10 years of light e-cigarette smoking in humans. The researchers used their tests to conclude that e-cigarettes can cause DNA damage and may reduce repair activity in the lungs, bladder and heart — all of which could increase the risk of cancer and heart diseases in smoker.

“For us, it’s unambiguous,” Tang said. “The only thing I can conclude is that vaping is harmful, not only to yourself but to bystanders as well, […] because it has the same effect as smoking, maybe less but they also breathe nicotine.”

Dr. Hyun-Wook Lee, an associate research scientist of Tang Lab at NYU Environmental Medicine, said the team is exploring the effects of aldehyde, a carcinogen substance present in e-cigarette vaping.

“Surprisingly, these aldehydes can all [be] involved in gene damage from the occasional smoking or e-cigarette smoking,”  Lee said.

The second study suggests that vaping gets teens hooked on nicotine and could lead to more teens smoking to get their nicotine fix.

From a New York Times article:

The (National Academy of Sciences) panel found evidence among studies it reviewed that vaping may prompt teenagers or young adults to try regular cigarettes, putting them at higher risk for addiction, but that any significant linkage between e-cigarettes and long-term smoking has not been established. It said it was unable to determine whether young people were just trying cigarettes or becoming habitual smokers.

“When it got down to answering the questions about what the impacts on health are, there is still a lot to be learned,” said David Eaton, of the University of Washington, who led the committee that reviewed existing research and issued the report. “E-cigarettes cannot be simply categorized as either beneficial or harmful.”

Adam Leventhal, a professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California, and an author of the report, said his group did an exhaustive literature search, reviewing all studies on youths and e-cigarette use from around the world. Of those, 10 studies were deemed strong enough to address the question. But they did not show that using e-cigarettes caused teens to move on to tobacco, only that the use of e-cigarettes was associated with later smoking of at least one traditional cigarette. The report noted that more than 11 percent of all high school students — nearly 1.7 million youths — reported using e-cigarettes within the past month.

“The evidence was substantial that this association was consistent across a number of research methodologies, age ranges, locations, and research groups in and outside the U.S.,” Mr. Leventhal said.

This conclusion is at odds with the findings of the British Royal College of Physicians, which asserts that e-cigarettes are not a gateway to smoking.

“Concerns about e-cigarettes helping to recruit a new generation of tobacco smokers through a gateway effect are, at least to date, unfounded,” the organization notes on its website.

More intriguing was the newest report’s finding of moderate evidence that youths who use e-cigarettes before trying tobacco are more likely to become more frequent and intense smokers.

To be fair, the study also states that vaping is safer than cigarettes. My view has always been … it doesn’t matter whether the delivery system is an e-cig or a cigarette, any addiction to nicotine by definition is a bad thing.

The third study, which just came out today from Queen Mary University in London, suggests a link between vaping and pneumonia. This occurs because vaping makes it easier for the bacteria that cause

From a Daily Mirror article:

Professor Aras Kadioglu, of Liverpool University, and his team then tested the effect of e-cigarette vapour in mice.

They found that inhaled exposure to e-cigarette vapour also increased levels of PAFR (a molecule) on airway lining cells and increased the number of pneumococcal bacteria in the respiratory tract after infection, making mice more susceptible to disease.

The team then studied PAFR levels in cells lining the nose of 17 people. Of these, 10 were regular users of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, one used nicotine-free e-cigarettes, and six were not vapers.

First, PAFR levels in the airways of all 17 volunteers were measured. Then, vapers were asked to take at least 10 puffs on their e-cigarettes over five minutes. One hour after vaping, PAFR levels on airway cells increased three-fold.

Prof Jonathan Grigg, of Queen Mary University of London, said: “Together, these results suggest that vaping makes the airways more vulnerable to bacteria sticking to airway lining cells.

“If this occurs when a vaper gets exposed to the pneumococcal bacterium, this could increase the risk of infection.”

He added: “Some people may be vaping because they think it is totally safe, or in an attempt to quit smoking, but this study adds to growing evidence that inhaling vapour has the potential to cause adverse health effects.

“By contrast, other aids to quitting such as patches or gum do not result in airway cells being exposed to high concentrations of potentially toxic compounds.”

I continue to be kind of ambivalent about e-cigs. They seem to genuinely help some people quit cigarettes, and while they don’t appear to be 100 percent benign and harmless, if they less harmful than cigarettes, than that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But, it IS a bad thing that so many kids are getting addicted to nicotine via e-cigs and that e-cig companies are being incredibly blatant about marketing to teens.

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