Hi, I’m Naomi and welcome to Behind the
Headlines, the science behind the news. This week The Sun reported that
e-cigarette smoke could cause lung cancer despite being tobacco-free. E-cigarettes have helped many people to give up smoking cigarettes. The number of people using e-cigarettes or vaping has rapidly grown over the past decade. However, as e-cigarettes have only been around for a relatively short time there is still uncertainty over the potential health effects, particularly in the long term. You can find out more about e-cigarettes by clicking on the link. This laboratory study involved exposing three groups of mice to either normal
air, e-cigarette smoke containing nicotine or e-cigarette vapor without nicotine. The researchers found that nearly a quarter of the mice exposed to e-cigarettes smoke of nicotine developed lung cancer. Around half of these mice also showed signs of potentially cancerous changes in their bladder. Only one of the group of mice breathing normal air developed lung cancer. None of the mice breathing nicotine-free vapour alone developed lung cancer. The Sun’s headline doesn’t mention that this was based on a study using mice so we don’t know if the conditions the mice were exposed to were the same as a person vaping. We can’t say for certain that e-cigarettes are risk-free but the current evidence suggests that they’re safer than regular smoking. If you want to find out more about this story, click on the link.