Smoking an e-cigarette could have a devastating impact on your health
They're not as safe as first thought.
Scientists have warned that vaping devices - considered by many to be a healthier alternative to tobacco - could damage to your DNA and increase the risk of heart disease and cancer.
The news comes after researchers tested the effects of e-cigarettes on mice, and human lung and bladder cells.
In the tests, mice breathing the e-cigarette vapour showed greater damage to their DNA in the heart, lungs and bladder, as well as being more likely to develop tumours compared to the control group of mice breathing filtered air. Meanwhile cultured human cells reacted in a similar manner when exposed to nicotine and its derivatives.
The news may come as a shock for many users of e-cigarettes, as vaping has grown in popularity due to its percieved health advantages over smoking tobacco. They are often deemed the 'safe' alternative to cigarettes and recent analysis has also shown that people who vape contain 97% less of the lung carcinogen NNAL in their lungs than regular smokers.
Reporting their findings in the journal Proceedings in the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers concluded that "e-cigarette smoke is carcinogenic" and that e-cigarette smokers "have a higher risk than non-smokers to develop lung and bladder cancer and heart diseases".
Moon-Shong Tang, professor of environmental medicine at NYU warned not to get carried away by the findings as there is still much long term work to be done. "The results may take years to come in because cancer is such a slow process," he told The Guardian.
The scientists did note that "many of these e-cig smokers [who] have taken up the e-cig smoking habit are not necessarily doing it for the purpose of quitting TS (tobacco smoking), rather, it is because they are assuming that e-cig smoking is safe" in their writing.
This appears to be the main cause for concern moving forward, as Jasmine Just from Cancer Research UK points out that other research has shown that "those who make a complete switch from smoking tobacco to e-cigarettes can significantly reduce their exposure to key harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke," as more light continues to be shed on the findings.