E-cigarettes emerged around 2004-2005 and have become increasingly popular as the “Healthier” alternative to smoking. Although initial studies showed vaping had far less impact on health compared to smoking things are changing now as there is more long term studies coming out to the contrary.
In 2015, a letter from the New England Journal of Medicine expressed concern over formaldehyde, a toxic compound found in the vapors produced by e-cigarettes. While researchers are still studying its link to cancer, formaldehyde is known to cause irritation to the skin, eyes, nose, and throat.
Irfan Rahman, professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester, led the first study to examine the impact of e-cigarettes on oral health.
“We showed that when the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins, which in turn aggravate stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to various oral diseases,” he said.
This year, he was one of the authors of a studythat examined artificial flavors for inducing tissue damage and having a toxic effect on white blood cells, with the worst impact coming from cinnamon, vanilla, and buttery flavored e-juices. There are around 250 harmful chemicals found in traditional cigarettes while the number is significantly reduced in vaping. But the presence of nicotine still poses a threat (particularly risk of heart disease) in its concentrated, e-liquid form.
Another study using mice showed secondhand e-cigarette smoke could compromise the immune system. Thomas Sussan, lead author and an assistant scientist at the Bloomberg School, explained how the exposure to e-cigarette vapor “was followed by a bacterial or viral infection, the harmful effects of e-cigarette exposure became even more pronounced. The e-cigarette exposure inhibited the ability of mice to clear the bacteria from their lungs, and the viral infection led to increased weight loss and death indicative of an impaired immune response.”
In our office we believe more long term studies will show that vaping is not good for your oral care and can cause many problems down the road.