Many individuals believe electronic cigarettes are a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes, but a new study suggests that is not the case at all. In lab experiments done on cultured cells, a research team from the University of California, Los Angeles, found that toxic chemicals and nanoparticles in e-cigarette vapor caused 85 percent of the tested cells to die.
The team said it’s possible these substances can kill the top layer of skin cells in the oral cavity. The oral cavity is in the part of the mouth behind the teeth and gums.
The researchers believe that similar results would be found in tests on people, and said they are planning a human study to confirm their findings. If these results are confirmed as true, the team said that e-cigarettes could increase users’ risk of oral cancer.
The study author Shen Hu, an associate professor of oral biology and medicine at UCLA’s School of Dentistry said, “A small but significant portion of dental patients at UCLA Dental Clinics have used e-cigarettes, which will provide sufficient patient resources for our planned studies.”
There has been a huge increase in e-cigarette use in recent years. The team noted a significant increase among women and young people. Approximately 2.4 million middle and high school students in the U.S. were using e-cigarettes in 2014, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Long Term Effects of E-Cigarettes
Studies done by Brown University go to the heart of whether e-cigarettes are safe or not. The truth is that nicotine effects cardiac tissue. Experts know that smoking increases your risk for heart disease and nicotine is the likely cause. Nicotine damages vascular tissue and it literally bores holes through smooth muscle walls and leaves debris behind. Damage from nicotine can lead to atherosclerosis or a build-up of plaque in the walls of arteries.
Wherever there is damage to tissue, inflammation and plaque buildup can follow.
Even if a person wishes to avoid some of the cancer risks associated with tobacco use when a person switches from traditional cigarettes to e-cigarettes, it does not eliminate the risk for heart disease.
The American Heart Association recently recommended that the Food and Drug Administration implement stricter e-cig regulations after studies can verify the long-term effects these devices on the heart.
Health care providers must do more to raise public awareness about the health risks and dangers associated with e-cigarettes, the study authors stated.
Dr. Hu explained in a news release, “Our hope is to develop a screening model to help predict toxicity levels in e-cigarette products, so that consumers are better informed.