Topline: Exposure to e-cigarette vapor was linked to the development of lung cancer in mice, according to New York University researchers, in the first study to provide evidence that e-cigarettes might not be as safe for people to use as previously thought.
- The NYU study appeared to be the first to definitively link vaping to cancer, reported CNBC, and was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH.)
- The mice used in the study breathed in e-cigarette vapor 20 hours a week for over a year.
- Afterwards, 22.5% of the mice had cancerous tumors in their lungs, while 57.5% developed precancerous growths on their bladders.
- 20 mice were exposed to e-cigarette vapor that did not contain nicotine. None of those mice developed cancer, which the researchers considered “statistically significant.”
- The study had some limitations. Mice cannot inhale as deeply as humans, and the researchers said they are more likely to develop cancer, in general.
- However, the researchers believe that the health impact of e-cigarettes on humans will remain unknown for another decade. That’s when long-term, population-wide studies will be able to report their findings and provide a better understanding.
Crucial quote: “It’s foreseeable that if you smoke e-cigarettes, all kinds of disease comes out. Long term, some cancer will come out, probably. E-cigarettes are bad news,” said lead researcher Moon-Shong Tang in an interview with CNBC.
Key background: E-cigarette usage in the U.S. has led to a dramatic increase in teenage nicotine addiction, a vaping-related illness outbreak that’s claimed at least 18 lives and sickened over 1,000. Multiple states have passed legislation banning or restricting the devices, with a possible nationwide ban on the horizon. And market heavyweight Juul is the subject of multiple federal investigations and almost 200 individual lawsuits.