There has been a bit of speculation lately online about E-cigs, and the fact that recent studies seem to indicate that they could put you at risk for oral cancer.
Is it true? Or is this just another attempt by the ‘other side’ to demonize vaping and E-cig use?
As you probably know, E-cigs have been under fire recently by some specific sects of the medical community – despite the fact that some organizations and offices (like Public Health England) have actually said good things about them.
So what is the truth about this newest rumor going around on the internet?
Here’s what you need to know.
How did this rumor start?
Not long ago (January of 2017, to be exact), an article was published on dailymail.co.uk with the following title…
‘E-cigarettes could be toxic to the mouth: Vaping ‘kills cells in the oral cavity – raising the risk of disease’’
In this article, the author goes over a recent study in which toxic substances were said to be found in E-cig vapour that could, in theory, kill the top layer of skin cells in the oral cavity during use. It also says that this could lead to an increased risk of oral cancer, or other oral diseases.
These findings were reported by scientists at UCLA, and were published in the journal PLOS One. They are said to add to a ‘growing body of evidence’ that links E-cigs to health risks.
Here are the basics of the story
The research team, which was led by a Dr. by the name of Shen Hu, took cell cultures (sourced from the outermost layer of the oral cavity) and exposed them to E-cig vapour. They used vapour from two different E-cig brands, and exposed the cells to both for 24 hours.
The particle concentration and size distribution of the vapours were measured, and the vapours themselves were said to be found to contain nanoparticles of carbon, silica, and metal. The concentrations varied by E-cig brand and flavour, but the tests supposedly showed that E-cig vapour ‘may significantly weaken the oral cavity’s natural defence mechanism by decreasing the levels of an antioxidant called glutathione.’
It was said that this test caused about 85% of the tested cells to die.
Dr. Hu hopes to move forward by performing tests on human subjects. In doing so, they hope to eventually develop a screening process that will help them to test vaping products for toxicity levels, which will help consumers to be better informed about exactly what the oral health risks of different products might be.
What do we think about this story?
First of all, we feel that more scientific studies regarding the safety of electronic cigarettes are a good thing, and that they should not be discouraged. We obviously endorse the use of electronic cigarettes, and believe that they could play a huge role in defeating smoking once and for all – but we also know that health and safety are paramount. We would never want anyone to put themselves at risk – and if E-cigs are dangerous, we need to know about it.
But once again, it would seem that the verbiage in this study is more theoretical… and it is unclear as to exactly how ‘toxic’ e-cigs were to oral health in comparison to their analog, tobacco-filled counterparts.
Is vaping still safer than cigarettes? If so, then that is an important detail that should be included. Everyone knows that vaping is probably not as safe as breathing in clean, fresh air… but that’s not the point. The point is that E-cigs can be used as a safer nicotine delivery system than cigarettes. And cigarettes are proven to cause cancer.
So if E-cigs could perform the same basic function at a fraction of the risk, wouldn’t they be a better choice in the long run?
The answer to this seems to be a ‘yes’ as far as we are concerned – but we will be looking further into this study to see if any comparisons can be drawn between cigarettes and vaping.
What is worth to mention, is when it comes E-cigs and vaping in general, if you genuinely are new to the whole concept, it is strongly recommended that you first get yourself familiar not only with basic E-cig use, but with things like nicotine strength, types of e-liquid, ingredients, the types of devices and all the main differences of their use. If there’s anything you’re not familiar with, do educate yourself and stay on the safe side!