E-cigarettes ‘Potentially as Harmful as Tobacco Cigarettes’

Health – UConn Today

A study by chemists at the University of Connecticut offers new evidence that electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are potentially as harmful as tobacco cigarettes.
Postdoctoral researcher Karteek Kadimisetty holds the 3-D printed sample chamber of his genetic toxicity testing device. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)Using a new low-cost, 3-D printed testing device, UConn researchers found that e-cigarettes loaded with a nicotine-based liquid are potentially as harmful as unfiltered cigarettes when it comes to causing DNA damage.
The researchers also found that vapor from non-nicotine e-cigarettes caused as much DNA damage as filtered cigarettes, possibly due to the many chemical additives present in e-cigarette vapors. Cellular mutations caused by DNA damage can lead to cancer.
The findings appear in the journal ACS Sensors.
How much DNA damage e-cigarettes cause depends on the amount of vapor the user inhales, the other additives present, whether nicotine or non-nicotine liquid is used, and other factors, says Karteek Kadimisetty, a postdoctoral researcher in UConn’s chemistry department and the study’s lead author.
But one finding was clear.
“From the results of our study, we can conclude that e-cigarettes have as much potential to cause DNA damage as unfiltered regular cigarettes,” Kadimisetty says.
UConn chemists tested e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes for potential DNA damage caused by a known carcinogen (NNK) at different inhalation rates – 20, 60, and 100 puffs. Twenty puffs from an e-cigarette was deemed equivalent to smoking one tobacco cigarette. This chart shows DNA damage from nicotine e-cigarettes (EC) was approximately equivalent to damage caused by smoking unfiltered cigarettes (nf-TC). Damage levels increased with the number of puffs. Credit: Karteek Kadimisetty and the journal ACS Sensors.Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat up liquid and turn it into an aerosol vapor that can be inhaled. Using e-cigarettes is also called ‘vaping.’ The contents of e-cigarettes, called e-liquid or e-juice, are usually made up of propylene …

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