Vaping reduces the proliferation and viability of oral cells, suggesting an increased risk of periodontal disease and oral cancer, researchers of a study published in PLOS One found.
Researcher Dr. Diana Messadi, professor of dentistry at the University of California, Los Angeles, told Medscape Medical News that the study found vaping “can be harmful to the oral cavity and should not be considered a safe alternative to tobacco smoking.”
Vaping devices consist of a battery-powered heating element that atomizes the vaping fluid, which contains nicotine, propylene glycol (glycerin), and flavorings, so the user can inhale it as an aerosol.
The devices have soared in popularity in recent years, and many health experts have lauded them as safer, healthier alternatives to cigarettes. At the same time, critics of the devices argue that they are being marketed to teens who might not otherwise be attracted to smoking.
Traditional cigarette smoking has steadily declined in recent years, yet vapes are introducing a new generation to nicotine addiction, critics argue.
Dr. Messadi told Medscape Medical News that health professionals should counsel their nonsmoking patients to avoid vaping, especially discouraging adolescents and young adults from starting vaping if they have never smoked.
“For adults who want to stop smoking, I tell them if it stops them from smoking, it’s good, but in the long run they also have to stop using it,” Dr. Messadi told Medscape Medical News.
Dr. Messadi said that advertisements around the world touting vaping as healthier alternatives to tobacco cigarettes triggered her and other researchers’ interest in the subject and prompted the study.
Laboratory tests found significantly fewer adenosine triphosphate assay molecules, which provide a biomarker for cell health, in samples exposed to vape aerosols than untreated cells and cells affected by other exposures.
Cells compromised by vaping chemicals are prone to developing periodontal disease, oral cancers, and other health problems.
Dr. Rhodus, Nelson Rhodus, a distinguished professor of oral medicine and otolaryngology at the University of Minnesota, who was not involved in the study, told Medscape Medical News that “There is a misperception among patients that if they have stopped using regular cigarettes and started [vaping] that they don’t have risk, and that’s not true.”
Source: Medscape Medical News