Does vaping instead of smoking lower your risk of getting cancer?

One of the foremost contentious health debates within the history of public health is raging among smokers and former smokers who use vapour technology, government regulators who like cigarette sales, and also the powerful pharmaceutical industry.

About e-cigarettes and vaping

A general presumption is that because e-cigarettes don’t burn tobacco they are marketed as containing fewer toxic chemicals than regular cigarettes (and as a safer alternative), however, this is often not true. Vaping has caused acute lung injury and respiratory failure.

Besides nicotine, e-cigarettes and e-cigarette vapour typically contain humectant and/or vegetable glycerin. These are substances accustomed to producing stage or theatrical fog which are found to extend lung and airway irritation after concentrated exposure.

In addition, e-cigarettes and e-cigarette vapour may contain the chemicals or substances listed below:

  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs): At certain levels, VOCs can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches and nausea, and may damage the liver, kidney and system.
  • Flavouring chemicals: Some flavourings are more toxic than others. Studies have shown that some flavours contain different levels of a chemical called diacetyl that has been linked to a significant lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans.
  • Formaldehyde: A cancer-causing substance that will form if e-liquid overheats or not enough liquid is reaching the component (known as a “dry-puff”).

Some studies within medical literature suggest that vaping can cause cancer. Animal studies designed to mimic human exposure to vaping have shown that vape aerosol containers cause changes to cells within a matter of months. These changes suggest that DNA is being injured and not repaired. Over time, it’s suspected that this could cause cancer.

Studies are still ongoing and it could take decades before researchers can confidently connect the vaping trend to higher and fatal cancer rates in humans. It seems clear, however, that the miracle substitute for smoking, is not quite the miracle many smokers had hoped for and no form of nicotine inhalation would be recommended when trying to reduce your risk of getting cancer. 

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