E-cigarette users show cancer-linked genetic changes

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If you think vaping is benign, think again.

A USC study in 93 people shows that e-cigarette users develop some of the same cancer-related molecular changes in oral tissue as cigarette smokers, adding to the growing concern that e-cigarettes aren’t a harmless alternative to smoking.

The research, published Feb. 10 in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, comes amid a mushrooming e-cigarette market and mounting public health worries.

On a positive note, recent research found vaping is almost twice as effective as other nicotine replacement therapies in helping smokers quit.

But among adolescents, vaping now surpasses smoking, and there’s evidence that e-cigarette use leads to nicotine addiction and future smoking in teens.

“The existing data show that e-cig vapor is not merely ‘water vapor’ as some people believe,” said Ahmad Besaratinia, PhD, associate professor of research preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the study’s senior author. “Although the concentrations of most carcinogenic compounds in e-cig products are much lower than those in cigarette smoke, there is no safe level of exposure to carcinogens.”

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By Leigh Hopper