E-Cigarettes Maybe Not So Harmless

I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise.  But a new study has found that e-cigarettes may promote the growth of cancer much like their tobacco-laced predecessors.

According to Barry Meier at The New York Times, "The nicotine-laced vapor generated by an electronic cigarette promoted the development of cancer in certain types of human cells much in the same way that tobacco smoke does."

The studies did not involve humans, just specially treated lung cells in the lab. But the findings were disturbing enough that some experts are rethinking their positions that e-cigarettes are less deadly than the original ones, simply because they do not burn tobacco, a major source of carcinogens.

The scientists reported that the cells exposed to e-cigarette vapor, like those exposed to tobacco smoke, exhibited changes associated with cancer.

Meier reports that the Food and Drug Administration, which has oversight over tobacco, "is expected to soon issue rules laying out a framework under which e-cigarettes will be regulated. Hundreds of e-cigarette brands are on the market, some of them made by major companies and others made by mom-and-pop shops."

So should you smoke them in the meantime?  

“There is a lot that we don’t know about e-cigarettes, and one concern is that some of the substances within e-cigarettes could contribute to negative health effects,” Dr. Steven M. Dubinett, a professor at U.C.L.A. who led the study, tells Meier.


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