Vapers, smokers show similar biological changes linked to cancer, study finds

People who vape may experience biological changes in their DNA similar to those seen in smokers linked to cancer and other serious diseases, according to a study published in Epigenetics.

Researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of USC in Los Angeles examined a group of 45 people who were divided into three categories: vapers only, smokers only and a control group of those who had neither vaped nor smoked.

Researchers took blood samples from each of the participants and tested them to asses changes in levels of two chemical tags attached to DNA that have an effect on gene activity and/or function.

They found that vapers and smokers both experienced a significant drop in the levels of both chemical tags compared to the control group. Changes in the levels of these chemical tags occur in diseases such as cancer.

"That doesn't mean that these people are going to develop cancer," said Ahmad Besaratinia, PhD, associate professor at Keck School and the study's leader. "But what we are seeing is that the same changes in chemical tags detectable in tumors from cancer patients are also found in people who vape or smoke, presumably due to exposure to cancer-causing chemicals present in cigarette smoke, and,generally at much lower levels, in electronic cigarettes' vapor."

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