A new study out of the University of California, Los Angeles, reveals that electronic cigarettes contain toxic substances that could damage the top layer of skin cells in the oral cavity, thus causing a number of severe health problems.
The effects of traditional cigarette smoke on human health have been studied extensively and are well documented. There is much less research available, however, on the health risks of e-cigarettes. While some health agencies have recommended this smoking alternative as a tobacco-cessation product for users who want to quit smoking, new findings all point to significant dangers in e-cigarette use.
The UCLA research team, headed by Dr. Shen Hu, took cell cultures from the outer layer of the oral cavity and exposed them to e-cigarette vapor of 24 hours. The researchers then analyzed the particle concentration of the vapors.
The researchers found that e-cigarette vapors, containing nanoparticles of metal, silica, and carbon, can significantly wear down the oral cavity’s natural defenses by lowering levels of glutathione. As a result, approximately 85% of the cells died.
According to Hu, he and his team intend to test their findings on human subjects in the near future.
“A small but significant portion of dental patients at UCLA Dental Clinics have used e-cigarettes, which will provide sufficient patient resources for our planned studies,” Hu said. “Our hope is to develop a screening model to help predict toxicity levels of e-cigarette products, so that consumers are better informed.”
The use of e-cigarettes and other vaporizing devices has increased significantly over the past year. According to an online Reuters poll, about 10% of U.S. adults vape, and 15% of those individuals are under the age of 40.
Since New York’s Clean Indoor Air Act was enacted in 2003, New Yorkers are no longer permitted to smoke in enclosed public spaces. As a result, some smokers have switched to vaporizing devices, which do not violate state law when smoked in enclosed public places. There are only six localities in the state of New York that have a vaping ban: Cattaraugus County, Lynbrook, New York City, Suffolk County, Tompkins County, and Westchester County.
While the city of Rochester does not have a legal ban on the use of e-cigarettes in restaurants and other public buildings, some business owners may request that their customers take their vapor outside.
If you are like 99.7% of American adults, you know that a healthy smile is important to your social life. As Hu and his team demonstrated in the UCLA study, e-cigarettes can ruin an otherwise healthy smile, and cause irreversible damage to one’s oral cavity. Due to the harmful effects of e-cigarettes on one’s oral health, dental professionals are recommending users to quit altogether.