UK Study: Vaping does not promote cancer growth

Scientists compare vaping and smoking and discover about what you’d expect


A new study found that e-cig vapor doesn’t promote the growth of cancer cells, but cigarette smoke does. That may not be big news to vapers, but it could convince some smokers to give vaping a chance.

The study comes from British American Tobacco (BAT), and was published in the journal Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis. The testing was done by BioReliance Corp., a high-tech biological safety testing provider. The research is part of a series of comparisons between cigarettes and vapor and HeatNotBurn products.

The scientists used a test called the Bhas 42 in vitro cell transformation assay (CTA) to measure the potential of cigarette smoke and e-cig vapor to produce different kinds of carcinogens. This is the first time the Bhas 42 assay has been used to compare vapor and tobacco smoke.

No scientists have greater incentive to get their work exactly right.

As you’ve probably figured by now, the study found that the cigarette smoke and vapor had dramatically different potential for promoting tumor growth. Actually, the e-cigarette (a Vype e-pen) produced no carcinogenic “promoter activity” at all. The cigarette, on the other hand, showed “high toxicity.”

The researchers say the use of the Bhas 42 assay “demonstrates the potential for its future application as part of a product assessment framework.” In other words, this study protocol can be used to test other vaping products for carcinogenic potential.

“These data add to growing evidence suggesting that e-cigarettes may provide a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes,” they conclude.

Can you trust a Big Tobacco study?


Yes, the study comes from Big Tobacco scientists and funding, but nowadays that may be the most reliable source for such research. Why? Simply put, the tobacco industry knows that everything they stand behind will be carefully reviewed by a thousand skeptics.

If BAT releases shoddy science, they’ll be accused — rightly — of living up to the reputation of the tobacco companies for lying and hiding the facts about their products. After all, the industry lied for years about its knowledge of the dangers of cigarettes.

If they were discovered to be hiding known risks of their vapor products, they would be open to possible criminal charges. No scientists have greater incentive to get their work exactly right. And no business can less afford to look like liars.

Whether you think tobacco companies have changed for the better doesn’t matter. Even if they don’t care about their customers’ health, their powerful sense of self-preservation is the greatest insurance we have of seeing honest science from them. They’re doing it for themselves.

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.

  • Rok Klobucar

    Why they still say “MAY provide a safer alternative”? Isn’t that obvious? Or still not?

    • Jim McDonald

      Until we have years of extensive data, that’s the most any honest scientist will say. And many will never accept that. Look at snus: 40 years of extensive data that clearly shows 99-100% safer than smoking, yet still illegal in many countries, including the entire EU (except Sweden).

    • Jan Christian Frodahl

      The aromas used, are not meant to be inhaled, also there is a damage potention if people use say, Ni or Ni80, or even ss coils the wrong way, excessive dryburning for instance can have you inhale some trace amounts of material etc.
      There is SOME damage potential, but compared to smoking cigarettes, from everything I have read and learned, and from the calculations I made, (wish I had the math now, but I don`t) I need to vape for something like 2000 (yes two THOUSAND) years, before getting anywhere close to the cigarette habit I had..
      So I say vape your ass off, but I`d stay away from cheap`o chinese juice (mostly because it tastes like shit), and unknown brands. Get quality juice, and/or DIY 🙂
      Also get to understanding the materials you use in your coils if you make your own, and the ones in premade coils if that`s what you use 🙂

      It`s about harm reduction, and will never be directly healthy, but comparatively, it`s fairy dust and angel wings 😀