First Study of E-Cigarettes Reveals Gum Tissue Damage

Many younger smokers have switched to e-cigarettes because they believe them to be a healthier alternative. However, an October article published in the journal Oncotarget showed that the vapors and flavoring present in e-cigarettes could damage the cells located in gums and the oral cavity.

Irfan Rahman, Ph.D., a professor of environmental medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, led the research. Last year, Rahman published a study on the effects e-cigarettes have on lung cells. The National Institutes of Health funded this study.

Testing the effects of e-cigarettes required exposing a 3D model of human, non-smoker gum tissue to the different flavors available to smokers. The authors used a BLU rechargeable e-cigarette and two different flavors: classic tobacco and magnificent menthol. The research showed that both flavors inflame the gum cell and negatively effect cell regeneration. The menthol flavor was shown to do more damage than the classic tobacco flavor.

The authors seek to continue their work with long-term research to see if e-cigarettes can potentially lead to periodontitis (gum disease) through increased usage.

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