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New San Diego Research Suggests E-Cigarettes Damage Human Cells

Photo caption: An unidentified man is shown using an e-cigarette, on Jan. 23, 2015.

Photo credit: flckr\Vaping360

An unidentified man is shown using an e-cigarette, on Jan. 23, 2015.

E-cigarettes are advertised as a safer way to smoke. New research from San Diego’s VA Medical Center raises some questions about that claim.

E-cigarettes are advertised as a safer way to smoke. New research from San Diego’s VA Medical Center raises some questions about that claim.

VA researchers exposed human cells to the vapor extracted from two popular e-cigarette brands. The cells were exposed for a total of 24 to 48 hours over a period of 10 to 12 days.

The affected cells showed multiple forms of damage, regardless of whether the e-cigarette vapor contained nicotine.

Dr. Jessica Wang-Rodriguez, chief of pathology and laboratory medicine at San Diego’s VA Medical Center, was one of the researchers in the study. She said it’s hard to know exactly what in e-cigarettes caused the damage.

“I know some of them contain formaldehyde. I mean, that’s a known carcinogen," she explained. "But there may be some other things that are in there that we don’t really know about.”

E-cigarette makers are not required to disclose what ingredients are in their products. Wang-Rodriguez said more independent research is needed.

Her study is published in the January 2016 edition of the journal Oral Oncology.

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