Published on April 20th, 2017 | by Jimmy Hafrey
A study done by a Big Tobacco company has proven yet again that vaping is less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes.
The Sun is reporting that British American Tobacco, which produces brands like Benson and Hedges, Dunhill and Lucky Strike, funded the new study. The company has also entered into the vape market; it launched their first product in that market in 2013 under the name Vype. The company is also allocating resources to learning more about “alternative tobacco and nicotine products,” signaling that British American Tobacco may be ready to take on a role in the industry.
The study focused on how both vaping and smoking can affect the genome’s in a person’s DNA. Human DNA has over 25,000 genomes located within its structure and damage to the genome sequence can lead to fatal disease, including cancer, heart disease, and respiratory problems. By choosing to study how smoking can affect it, scientists are learning about whether or not vaping is better for people than smoking.
Scientists utilized a 3D model of a human airway that was built specifically for the experiment. Smoke and vapor were separately exposed to the tissue for one full hour for the first test; the amount of nicotine was equal to what could be found in one cigarette. A second test doubled the nicotine that was present.
The study measured the effect on genes by using the “on and off” measurement, meaning that the scientists mapped which genes were turned on or off by the smoke or vapor after the time limit was finished. This measurement was done 24 hours and 48 hours after the one-hour exposure to understand how time affects the genomes.
The results were astonishing.
The results showed that the tissue that was exposed to cigarette smoke showed that 873 genomes were affected after 24 hours. 205 genomes were affected 48 hours after the fact as well.
Researchers also measured the vapor and found that the genomes affected were significantly less. Just three genomes were affected 24 hours after exposure and one was affected after 48 hours after the one-hour exposure of vapor.
Scientists also noted that the investigation showed that cigarette smoke caused changes to the genomes associated with the development of severe diseases, including lung cancer, inflammation, and fibrosis. The investigation also proved that vapor from vape mods only had minor effects on genes that are associated with cell metabolism and oxidative stress processes, which is the process that can produce free radicals.
Vapers should be aware that past studies have shown links between oxidative processes in DNA and diseases, particularly those that affect the aging process. This includes some forms of cancer and Alzheimer’s. The latter disease, however, does seem to be helped by the introduction of nicotine, a topic that readers can learn more about here.
Dr. James Murphy, who heads the reduced risk substantiation unit at British American Tobacco, spoke about the study and its results, stating that:
“Our results clearly show that cigarette smoke has an adverse effect on cells, triggering a robust gene expression response. However, even at an equivalent or higher dose of nicotine, acute exposure to the test e-cigarette vapour has very limited impact on gene expression compared to cigarette smoke exposure – it’s a striking difference.”
Professor Peter Hajek, who is the director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary University, was not involved in the study or its outcomes but did speak about it with reporters. He stated that he was encouraged by the results, but as the study came from a tobacco company, independent research would be needed in order to confirm the results. He also stated that:
“From the point of view of readers who smoke and who were put off trying e-cigarettes by the various anti-vaping scares, the study results support what the common sense and the knowledge about e-cigarettes gathered so far suggests, vaping is, by a big margin, much less risky than smoking.”
The research and its findings were recently published in Scientific Reports, allowing for peer review and critiques of the paper to take place. It also adds to the growing body of research done on the health and safety of vape products, both alone and in comparison to traditional cigarettes.
This is not the first time that British American Tobacco has done research on vape products; the company made its debut in the vape market four years ago and has been funding research on the industry for at least five years. One of the studies the company funded found that the Vype ePen device contained 95 percent the number of toxins that are found in traditional cigarettes.
This finding has not seemed to hurt Vype sales; indeed, it is now being carried worldwide. But it does put into question how reliable both the company and its vape products are for vapers.
Vape products have been welcomed by the National Health Service, the UK’s health system. An independent review, which was conducted by Public Health England, was published in 2015 and found that vape products are 95 percent less dangerous than traditional cigarettes; this was the catalyst for UK health agencies to call for employers to offer vape products and designated vaping areas as part of a smoking cessation program for their employees.
But not all is rosy for the vape industry; health experts are still warning that not enough is known about vape products to make a concrete decision about their health effects. This is backed up by some studies that show that vaping could damage lungs, cause heart disease, and increase the risk of severe strokes in some people.
Charalambos Viachopoulos spoke at a gathering of heart experts and scientists at a conference in Rome last summer and proclaimed that vaping is “far more dangerous than people realise.”
The study Viachopoulos was referring to found that vaping could be as dangerous to a person’s heart health as cigarettes and could cause arterial stiffness, a precursor to heart disease. This study has not yet been corroborated by supporting studies or research by any other known scientific teams.
Some countries are also calling for a ban on sweet-flavored vape liquids, claiming that using candy and dessert flavors may entice younger people to try vaping; anti-vaping advocates warn that the flavors can act as a gateway to smoking.
However, these claims are unfounded; the majority of studies, including one done in the United States, show that smoking is down in young adults and teens and that most people who try vaping do not become regular users or smokers.
The jury is still out on how vaping affects a person; this is because many studies are biased and misinformation is being spread by anti-vaping advocates. The best way for any vaper to uncover the truth is to read the studies and educate themselves on who is funding the research, who the researchers are, and what the studies actually mean.
But as far as the vape community can tell, smoking can take a life; vaping can help save a life.