Vaping, Smoking, and Lung Cancer: It Never Ends Well
Do you still smoke cigarettes despite the hourly barrage of scientific studies linking them to lung cancer? Do you still vape despite the annual percentages of smokers who give up within a year?
November is the Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and there is no better time to stop kidding yourself.
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Smoking and Vaping
Smoking and vaping are equally as bad for your lungs, and the consequences of smoking long-term include an increased rate of pulmonary diseases, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The 2014 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on ‘The Health Consequences of Smoking’ warns about the severe harm caused by long-term cigarette smoking, including an increased risk for bronchitis and emphysema. The report also warns of the harm associated with second-hand smoke which can cause lung cancer or other respiratory problems1.
The electronic cigarette (e-cigarette), for many considered as a safe alternative to conventional cigarettes, has revolutionized the tobacco industry in the last decades. In e-cigarettes, tobacco combustion is replaced by e-liquid heating, leading some manufacturers to propose that e-cigarettes have less harmful respiratory effects than tobacco consumption. Other innovative features such as the adjustment of nicotine content and the choice of pleasant flavours have won over many users. Nevertheless, the safety of e-cigarette consumption and its potential as a smoking cessation method remain controversial due to limited evidence. Moreover, it has been reported that the heating process itself can lead to the formation of new decomposition compounds of questionable toxicity. The potential long-term effects of e-cigarette consumption have been scarcely investigated2.
Vaping can cause irritation in your lungs by heating vegetable glycerin (VG), propylene glycol (PG), or distilled or oxidized, organic ethanol (e-cloud). Researchers have found that using e-cigarettes with the e-liquid refills containing propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerine (VG) may lead to inflammation of the lungs over a period of time. The results of the study titled, “Effects of Electronic Cigarette Constituents on the Human Lung: A Pilot Clinical Trial,” was published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research3.
E-cigarettes can expose users to several chemicals, including nicotine, carbonyl compounds, and volatile organic compounds, known to have adverse health effects. The health effects and potentially harmful doses of heated and aerosolized constituents of e-cigarette liquids, including solvents, flavorants, and toxicants, are not completely understood4.
What researchers do know is that these toxic chemicals and metals have all been found in e-cigarettes5:
Nicotine – a highly addictive substance that negatively affects adolescent brain development
Propylene glycol – a common additive in food; also used to make things like antifreeze, paint solvent, and artificial smoke in fog machines
Carcinogens- chemicals known to cause cancer, including acetaldehyde and formaldehyde
Acrolein – a herbicide primarily used to kill weeds, can cause irreversible lung damage
Diacetyl – a chemical linked to a lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans aka “popcorn lung”
Diethylene glycol – a toxic chemical used in antifreeze that is linked to lung disease
Heavy metals such as nickel, tin, lead
Cadmium – a toxic metal found in traditional cigarettes that causes breathing problems and disease
Benzene – a volatile organic compound (VOC) found in car exhaust
Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs
E-cigarettes contain diacetyl, which was foundational argument behind the famous microwaved popcorn cancer scandal6.
Vaping can pose a risk and we will learn more as new evidence is uncovered with new research.
BioMark Diagnostics – Liquid Biopsy and Metabolomics
Early detection is essential to successful treatment and management. The more you know and the earlier you detect potential cancers, the better your chances of survival. Cancer kills and life expectancy varies dramatically depending on the stage of the cancer and how fast it is caught. At BioMark, we believe that early detection of cancer increases the chance of being cured.
BioMark Diagnostics specializes in early detection of hard to detect and treat cancers through its patented liquid biopsy assays. BioMark Diagnostics’ patented liquid biopsy and metabolomic analysis is a simple, and accurate early-stage lung cancer detection solution. Such test is done on a sample of blood to look for cancer biomarkers, or metabolites, from a tumor that are circulating in the blood. A liquid biopsy may be used to help find cancer at an early stage. It may also be used to help plan treatment or to find out how well treatment is working or if cancer has come back.
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Cancer is too important to ignore. November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Share this article with someone you care about.
The science and understanding of cancer and cancer technologies is ever rapidly evolving. The information provided herein is our attempt to simplify and highlight current discoveries, developments, and understandings related to lung cancer. It is important that you seek proper medical advice or counsel from your physician or health provider.