About Careers MedBlog Contact us

Genetic Mutations Not Induced By E-Cigarettes

Font : A-A+

  • Researchers used Ames test, that uses bacteria, to compare the mutagenic potential of cigarette smoke with that of e-cigarette vapor.
  • Exposure to cigarette smoke was seen to cause mutations in both bacterial strains within 24 minutes of exposure.
  • E-cigarette vapor extracts did not cause the bacteria to mutate, even after three hours of continuous exposure.
  • E-cigarettes have the potential to be significantly less harmful compared to cigarette smoke.

Genetic Mutations Not Induced By E-Cigarettes

"Cigarettes are a classy way to commit suicide."- Kurt Vonnegut

E-cigarette vapor does not induce DNA mutations commonly observed with tobacco smoke exposures in lab-based tests.


Many in the public health community believe e-cigarettes offer great potential for reducing the public health impact of smoking.

Scientists at British American Tobacco used a method called the Ames test to compare the mutagenic potential of cigarette smoke with that of vapor from Vype ePen, a commercially available e-cigarette.

Cigarette Smoking Statistics in USA
  • Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States.
  • Cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year, with more than 41,000 of these deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Smoking-related illness in the United States costs more than $300 billion a year, including nearly $170 billion in direct medical care for adults and $156 billion in lost productivity.
  • In 2014, an estimated 16.8% (40.0 million) U.S. adults were current cigarette smokers. Among them, 76.8% (30.7 million) smoked every day, and 23.2% (9.3 million) smoked some days.
DNA mutations result in genetic instability, which may be involved in the development of cancer.

The Ames test is widely used method that uses bacteria to test whether a given chemical or drug causes mutations in the bacteria's DNA.

The standard test involves five bacterial strains.

In this study, two of these bacteria were used Salmonella typhimurium strains TA98 and TA100, both of which are effective at screening 90-95% of potential mutagens.

TA98 and TA100 have been used widely to assess tobacco smoke, but never for the assessment of freshly generated e-cigarette aerosols, until now.

Traditionally, the particulate matter in smoke is assessed, but this is only a small fraction of the tobacco smoke.

To more accurately reflect real-life exposure, whole smoke was also tested.

The researchers tested both the particulate matter and whole aerosol of smoke from a reference cigarette 3R4F and vapor from Vype ePen.

For the process, they trapped particulate matter from smoke or vapor on a filter pad and then washed the pad with a solvent to produce a stock solution that could be diluted into various concentrations.

They then exposed the test bacteria to the same concentrations of either smoke or vapor extract.

They also exposed test bacteria to freshly generated smoke or e-cigarette vapor.

Exposure to smoke was seen to cause mutations in both bacterial strains in a dose-dependent manner - the higher the dose, the higher the mutation rate.

Whole smoke took just 24 minutes to cause mutations.

E-cigarette vapor extracts, gave no response, and whole vapor did not cause the bacteria to mutate, even after three hours of continuous exposure, which was comparable to the results obtained from air and untreated controls.

'These findings suggest that Vype ePen vapour does not induce the mutations observed on exposure to smoke,' said Dr James Murphy, Head of Reduced Risk Substantiation at British American Tobacco.

'This study adds data to support the growing evidence base that e-cigarettes have the potential to be significantly less harmful compared to cigarette smoke, though more research is needed' he said.

Public Health England, an executive body of the UK Department of Health, recently published a report saying that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than cigarettes.

The Royal College of Physicians have said that the public can be reassured that e-cigarettes are much safer then smoking and that they should be widely promoted as an alternative to cigarettes, but called for more research to be done on the potential long term effects of using e-cigarettes.

The results are published in Mutation Research/Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis.

  1. Burden of Tobacco Use in the US - (http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/resources/data/cigarette-smoking-in-united-states.html)

Source: Medindia

Citations   close


News A-Z
What's New on Medindia
Diet and Oral Health: The Sugary Connection May Become Sour
World AIDS Day 2022 - Equalize!
Test Your Knowledge on Sugar Intake and Oral Health
View all
Recommended Reading
News Archive
News Category

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Genetics and Stem Cells Gilbert’s Syndrome McArdle Disease Christianson Syndrome How Do Viruses Mutate and Why Does it Matter? 

Most Popular on Medindia

A-Z Drug Brands in India Loram (2 mg) (Lorazepam) Noscaphene (Noscapine) How to Reduce School Bag Weight - Simple Tips Hearing Loss Calculator Pregnancy Confirmation Calculator The Essence of Yoga Selfie Addiction Calculator Blood Donation - Recipients Post-Nasal Drip
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close

Genetic Mutations Not Induced By E-Cigarettes Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests