Study: Smokers May Reduce Cancer Risk by Vaping

The first study to measure toxicant levels in smokers who switch to vaping shows dramatically reduced levels of cancer biomarkers

Scientist Microscope

The results are in

A new study shows that smokers who switch to vaping reduce their exposure to many toxicants found in tobacco smoke. Probably for the first time, the study tested for toxicants in actual smokers/vapers, rather than using machines and lab measurements to simulate exposure. The study appears in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

The study was led by Dr. Maciej Goniewicz, an assistant professor of oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York. Five other authors were involved in the study, including Dr. Neal Benowitz of the University of California-San Francisco. Goniewicz and Benowitz have conducted numerous e-cigarette studies.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study with smokers to demonstrate that substituting tobacco cigarettes with electronic cigarettes may reduce exposure to numerous toxicants and carcinogens present in tobacco cigarettes,” says Dr. Goniewicz in a Roswell Park press release. “This study suggests that smokers who completely switch to e-cigarettes and stop smoking tobacco cigarettes may significantly reduce their exposure to many cancer-causing chemicals.”

Significant declines in toxicant exposure

The study followed 20 healthy adult daily smokers as they switched to e-cigarettes for two weeks. The team measured the participants’ urine for seven nicotine metabolites and 17 biomarkers of exposure to toxicants and carcinogens present in cigarette smoke. The measured biomarkers are known indicators of smoking-related diseases, including lung cancer.

The scientists found significant declines in toxicant exposure for 12 of the 17 biomarkers after participants switched from smoking to e-cigarettes. The decline was similar to that seen in smokers who quit smoking cigarettes.

“Our findings suggest that e-cigarette use may effectively reduce exposure to toxic and carcinogenic substances among smokers who completely switch to these products,” Dr. Benowitz said. “Future research will help determine whether e-cigarettes reduce the risk of disease among dual users — those who both smoke and vape — and those who use electronic cigarettes for a long time.”

Jim McDonald
I spend most of my time studying the regulatory, legislative and scientific challenges to vaping, advocating for our right to exist, and talking with others who do the same. Consider me a source for information, and feel free to agree or disagree with anything I say. I love good coffee and sweet Michigan cherries. My childhood hero was Gordie Howe.