ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Since its debut to the U.S. marketplace in 2007, e-cigarettes – widely known as a vape – has become increasingly popular, especially among young people. According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, more than three million middle and high school students vaped in 2022. E-cigarettes contain nicotine and have been linked to lung and cardiovascular diseases. But now, a University of Central Florida researcher has discovered that vaping could also increase your risk for cancer.
E-cigarettes, vapes, Juuls – they go by many names, but these devices have increased in popularity among young people. One in 10 people under 18 vapes and a quarter of those young people vape daily. It has been known to cause a host of complications, including lung and heart disease. But new research suggests that vaping can increase your risk for oral cancer as well.
“After exposure to e-cigarette vaping, that was independent of nicotine or nicotine content, a lot of the bacteria, the ‘good’ bacteria, die,” explains Claudia Andl, PhD, an associate professor of medicine at the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida.
This can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Andl’s research focuses on bacteria that is found in the skin that can cause illness or death if it gets into the blood stream. Usually, when someone has a healthy immune system, it kills the bacteria, but Andl’s research suggests that vaping compromises that response, allowing the bacteria to grow.
Andl adds, “Hopefully, with some of the recent research that we have published – and others – overall, it will lead to more awareness, and hopefully, it will change some of the policy making.”
If you are a parent or guardian and you suspect your child or teen is vaping, or interested in vaping, the CDC suggests: learning about the risks, setting a good example, adopting tobacco-free rules, and letting your child or teen know that you want them to stay away from tobacco.
Contributors to this news report include: Adahlia Thomas, Associate Producer; Fernando Jimenez, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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TOPIC: VAPING & CANCER LINK: THE NEW DANGER
REPORT: MB #5268
BACKGROUND: E-cigarettes, also known as a vape, is an alternative to smoking regular cigarettes. Over nine million adults in the U.S. vape and 7.6 percent of teens vape. According to John Hopkins Medicine, vaping is less harmful than smoking, but it’s still not safe. Because nicotine is also in e-cigarettes and they can be addictive, just like regular cigarettes, which can lead to heart and lung disease.
DIAGNOSING: Vaping can cause a number of side effects, like inflammation or swelling in the lungs, asthma, lung scarring, organ damage, EVALI, which is a lung condition, and even cancer. EVALI stands for e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury. Symptoms of EVALI include, but aren’t limited to: shortness of breath, fever, diarrhea, stomach pain, and/or fast heartbeat. Diagnosing EVALI can be kind of tricky, since the symptoms are very similar to other respiratory diseases, but doctors can do a few tests, like chest X-rays or CT scans.
NEW TECHNOLOGY: A University of Central Florida researcher, Claudia Andl, PhD, discovered that vaping, especially long-term use, can cause oral cancer. Andl says, “In our research, we focused on a specific bacterium, commonly associated with tooth decay. It turns out the antimicrobial effect of e-cigarette liquid creates environment where the healthy bacteria have trouble growing, but the bad bacteria are not affected and are left with more room to take over.”
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