While researchers at the Francis Crick Institute (FCI, a biomedical research center in London) claim that vaping may be safer than smoking cigarettes, the long-term risks this practice poses are not yet clear. .
This is notably explained by FCI researcher Charles Swanton, in an article in The Independent. “It is impossible for me to say that it is a risk-free solution to quit smoking. It’s definitely a better alternative, but that doesn’t mean it’s risk-free.”indicates the one who is also a clinician at Cancer Research UK.
Scientists have carried out studies to understand why some of those diagnosed with lung cancer – around one in eight in the UK – are non-smokers, despite smoking being one of the main causes of the disease.
In particular, they based themselves on research carried out on humans and mice, which measured exposure to soot particles present in the air and which can cause the growth of cancer cells in the lungs. Result: the process that causes the appearance of tumors in non-smokers is different from that linked to smoking, which itself triggers a direct DNA mutation that can lead to cancer.
The researchers’ findings suggest that irritants such as air pollution cause inflammation, followed by a healing process that awakens dormant cells that can cause cancerous mutations. And scientists fear that vaping could trigger the same process.
Towards a cure?
While the researchers envision being able to stop this process with anti-inflammatory drugs, they warn, however, that it could take years. But “The mechanism we have identified could help us find better ways to prevent and treat lung cancer in non-smokers,” says Charles Swanton.
Furthermore, according to Dr William Hill, it would be useful to “finding ways to reduce lung inflammation caused by air pollution” and of “reducing the risk of lung cancer in people who have never smoked”if we want to prevent air pollution and vaping from becoming, in about ten years, responsible for a new wave of cancers.