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NYU Study Suggests Vaping Increases Risk of Cancer and Heart Diseases

A+first-year+vapes+in+Union+Square+at+night.+She+only+started+vaping+since+being+at+NYU%2C+primarily+doing+so+on+nights+out.
A first-year vapes in Union Square at night. She only started vaping since being at NYU, primarily doing so on nights out.

A first-year vapes in Union Square at night. She only started vaping since being at NYU, primarily doing so on nights out.

Sam Klein

Sam Klein

A first-year vapes in Union Square at night. She only started vaping since being at NYU, primarily doing so on nights out.

By Mariana Castro and Christine Lee

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A safe alternative to smoking cigarettes with all the same head-rush-inducing, nicotine pleasure — that is the idea behind e-cigarettes, which have quickly gained popularity in recent years among young adults, college students and even teenagers. But is it all too good to be true?

Perhaps.

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.

Rapid increases in e-cigarette smoking sparked the researchers’ interests in the subject. “Eighteen million people are smoking e-cigarettes, particularly young people,” Tang said. “It’s a new culture.”

When asked why more young people are turning to e-cigarettes,Tang pointed to social norms and a desire to fit in.

Because there is no solid evidence that proves nicotine is a carcinogenic substance, e-cigarettes have been promoted as a cancer safe option, leading many to take up the habit.

“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.

In order to expand the study, Tang and his team also work on clinical samples, and the main focus is on the two causes of lung cancer and blood cancer.

“These [samples] are from the patients’ tissues,” Lee said. “We have some very promising results about the stages.”

Even though Tang believes there is sufficient evidence for scientists to conclude e-cigarettes have carcinogenic risks, he said it would take another decade or so for it to be publicly adopted.

 

Email Mariana Castro and Christine Lee at [email protected]

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9 Comments

9 Responses to “NYU Study Suggests Vaping Increases Risk of Cancer and Heart Diseases”

  1. Sohail khan on February 7th, 2018 4:54 pm

    This study should be inconclusive, the test gave the experimental group a dosage for 12 weeks which is equivalent to 10 years of light e smoking. This proves nothing. You gave the test subject a wrong ratio and over dosed and this does not correlate with humans. But people will read the headline and be scared anyway. Smh

  2. Connor on February 7th, 2018 5:12 pm

    So your telling me during this study of 12 weeks you gave mice 10 years worth of nicotine? In what way is that a credible study. Obviously there will be health complications having such high doses of nicotine in such a short time span.

  3. Rita on February 7th, 2018 8:04 pm

    Juul

  4. Sam Snow on February 8th, 2018 11:26 pm

    Hello,
    I am a everyday e cigarette user. This article is making me want to stop. However, does this source have proof that it will lead to lung cancer and other problems? If so is there a way I may see this proof ?

    Thank you

    Samuel

  5. Larry Miller on February 18th, 2018 1:27 pm

    This is junk science. “Even though Tang believes there is sufficient evidence for scientists to conclude e-cigarettes have carcinogenic risks, he said it would take another decade or so for it to be publicly adopted.”
    Ask Tang if he believes that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that breathing the air in mid-town Manhattan has carcinogenic effects.

    There are 187 hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) that EPA is required to control. From these HAPs, EPA identified 30 that pose the greatest potential health threat in urban areas. These HAPs are referred to as the 30 urban air toxics.
    NYC has problems with darn near every one of them. Let’s clean up what we know for certain causes problems, not spend time looking for publicity.

  6. Michael on February 18th, 2018 8:22 pm

    Please, if you’re both interested in writing in the future, learn that the only way ‘lead’ is ever pronounced like the past tense of to lead is when you’re talking about the element with the symbol Pb.

    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.

  7. Mary Wallace on February 19th, 2018 12:58 am

    The lifespan of a mouse is two years compared to 70-80 years for humans. The mice were not “overdosed” but rather the ratio of 12 weeks in a mouse lifespan correlates to 10 years in a human lifespan. This relatively new product already shows scientifically supportable indications of being harmful and will, like cigarettes, eventually be irrefutably proven to cause cancer and other harm. Unfortunately, in the time it takes for those studies to be completed, the damage will be done. How are so many of the smartest kids in the country falling for something so dumb?

  8. Jan VanDenBerg on February 20th, 2018 12:32 pm

    What was the carrier liquid in the vape to which the mice were exposed?

    The experiment needs to be re-done using each of the 4 common vape carrier liquids to separate the potential health impact of that.

    It is considered established that of the 4 known carrier liquids for vape, 2 are carcinogenic (PG and PEG), one can lead to pneumonia (MCT oil) and one is pretty OK — vegetable glycerine.

    The known carcinogenic effect of 2 the liquids must be separated from the potential carcinogenic impact of the nicotine dissolved in them.

    Maybe that was done in this study but, if so, this article fails to explain it all properly.

  9. Jan VanDenBerg on February 20th, 2018 12:37 pm

    Also, the article fails to note the recent study outcome that indicates that vape, in any carrier liquid, is LESS carcinogenic that smoking ordinary cigarettes.

    Vape should be used by those who are substituting it for the cigarettes to which they are addicted; in that usage, vaping nicotine-bearing liquids, even in slightly carcinogenic carrier liquids, is a better choice FOR ADDICTED SMOKERS than smoking.

    The fact that vape is being used instead of just not smoking by those who are not already addicted to nicotine is unfortunate but doesn not indicate that the vaping option is not a big improvement for the already-addicted, nor that access to nicotine vape should be restricted.

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