Opting for electronic cigarettes as a healthier alternative to tobacco may be misguided, according to a new study.
Research published in the cancer-focused journal Oncotarget shows that e-cigarette smoke could be just as bad for your teeth and gums as that of traditional tobacco.
Scientists from the University of Rochester and Stony Brook University discovered that the vapors released in e-cigarettes can cause tissue damage similar to that caused by tobacco smoke.
“We showed that when the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins… resulting in damage that could lead to various oral diseases,” said study leader Irfan Rahman, a professor of environmental medicine in the School of Medicine and Dentistry.
“How much and how often someone is smoking e-cigarettes will determine the extent of damage to the gums and oral cavity.”
The scientists also found that the chemicals used to add flavor to some e-cigarettes can result in even more damage to your mouth tissue.
“We learned that the flavorings - some more than others - made the damage to the cells even worse,” said study co-author Fawad Javed, a postdoctoral resident at the university’s Institute for Oral Health.
“It’s important to remember that e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is known to contribute to gum disease.”
The researchers said more research is needed to gain a better grasp on the health ramifications of e-cigarettes. In the meantime, they urged e-cigarette manufacturers to reveal all the materials and chemicals in their products in the interest of consumer safety.