NEW YORK: New research has found that electronic cigarettes loaded with nicotine-based liquid are potentially just as harmful as tobacco cigarettes when it comes to cancer causing DNA damage. “From the results of our study, we can conclude that e-cigarettes have as much potential to cause DNA damage as unfiltered regular cigarettes,” said Karteek Kadimisetty, lead author of the study.
Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat up liquid and turn it into aerosol vapour that can be inhaled. Cellular mutations caused by DNA damage can lead to cancer. These cigarettes are seen as a better and less toxic alternative for people looking to break their habit of smoking tobacco cigarettes. The team of scientists decided to look into whether the chemicals in e-cigarettes could cause damage to human DNA while testing a new electro-optical screening device they developed in their lab. Researchers said the small 3D printed device is believed to be the first of its kind capable of quickly detecting DNA damage, or genotoxicity, in environmental samples in the field.
Samples were gathered through an artificial inhalation technique at 20, 60, and 100 puffs of an e-cigarette. Potential DNA damage was found to increase with the number of puffs. The study revealed that potential DNA damage from e-cigarettes was found to increase with the number of puffs. Vapour from non-nicotine e-cigarettes caused as much DNA damage as filtered cigarettes possibly due to the many chemical additives present in e-cigarette vapours.
Kadmimisetty said, “Some people use e-cigarettes heavily because they think there is no harm. We wanted to see exactly what might be happening to DNA.”