Washington DC: If you were thinking that electronic cigarettes are harmful for your health, then a recent study reveals that they can damage cells in ways that could lead to cancer and this damage can occur even with nicotine-free versions of the product.
Researchers from the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System said that their study strongly suggests that electronic cigarettes are not as safe as their marketing makes them appear to the public.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate e-cigarettes like it does conventional tobacco products. But it has warned of possible health risks. So far, though, evidence is limited on what exactly e-cigarettes contain and whether those chemicals are safe, particularly in terms of cancer.
Lead researcher Dr. Jessica Wang-Rodriquez said that there haven't been many good lab studies on the effects of these products on actual human cells.
During the research, the scientists tested two types of each e-cigarette: a nicotine and nicotine-free version. Nicotine is what makes smoking addictive. There is also some evidence it can damage cells.
The San Diego team found that the nicotine versions caused worse damage, but even the nicotine-free vapor was enough to alter cells.
There are nearly 500 brands of e-cigarettes on the market, in more than 7,000 flavors. So scientists have their work cut out for them identifying all the potential problems.
Wang-Rodriguez said that for now, they are able to at least identify that e-cigarettes on the whole have something to do with increased cell death and they hope to identify the individual components that are contributing to the effect.
The research is published in the journal 'Oral Oncology.'