Vaping is a relatively new trend, but as the sickly sweet flavoured mist of e-cigarette smoke settles, scientists have found it could be just as harmful as lighting up a rollie.
E-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular with those trying to quit or cut back on smoking tobacco, as well as the sheeple who are new to the joys of a headrush but think the tiny handheld machinery looks cool. As with any new trend, there are even masters of vaping who make money showing off their skills on social media.
But this alternative to smoking may not be as healthy as we initially thought.
Karteek Kadimisetty, a University of Connecticut researcher, wanted to investigate further:
Some people use e-cigarettes heavily because they think there is no harm. We wanted to see exactly what might be happening to DNA, and we had the resources in our lab to do that.
Kadimisetty and her team of scientists found that e-cigarettes, loaded with nicotine-based liquid, are potentially as harmful as tobacco regarding cellular mutations and DNA damage.
Worryingly, DNA damage and cellular mutations have both been linked to the onset of diseases such as cancer.
The study shows that the potential DNA damage from vaping increases with the number of puffs. The evidence suggests the damage is caused by many chemical additives added to e-cigarettes and present in the vapours, including propylene glycol, glycerine, nicotine and other novelty flavourings.
This comes a year after scientists showed vaping to be bad for your heart health – just as smoking was proven to be all those years ago.
The science contradicts advice given by Public Health England (PHE), which said vaping is 95 per cent less harmful than tobacco. On this basis, PHE have called for GPs to prescribe e-cigarettes on the NHS as a tobacco deterrent.
And to add even more confusion to the debate one recent study had suggested vaping’s links to cancer were negligible.
The global e-cigarette market is set to be worth $32 billion by 2021, and with the UK share reaching almost $6 billion, this alternative to tobacco cigarettes is increasingly popular among smokers.