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Vaping may 'wake up' cancer cells and trigger wave of killer disease in a decade, experts warn | The Sun

WE know that vaping is less harmful than smoking – there’s none of the toxic smoke and tar you get with cigarettes.

However, scientists have now warned that vaping could cause cancer the same way as air pollution can. 

Professor Charles Swanton, of The Francis Crick Institute and chief clinician of Cancer Research UK, said vaping is "almost certainly" safer than smoking.

However, he added: "I don't think we can say vaping is necessarily a safe option to quit smoking.

"It may be safer but that doesn't mean it's safe."

He went on to say: "We don't know for certain vaping won't cause lung cancer 10 years from now.”

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Swanton's comments come as Crick scientists warned air pollution and irritants could trigger inflammation via a process of healing that “wakes up” dormant cells.

These cells may carry mutations that could cause cancer, and the concern is, vaping may provoke the same process.

This research – which used studies on humans and mice – was designed to investigate and help explain why one in eight people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK – around 6,000 people a year – despite having never smoked.

What's more, it could account for the fact non-smokers with lung cancer tumours also tend to have a different genetic profile compared to those who do smoke. 

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Scientists believe anti inflammatory drugs could be developed to help halt the process which can trigger cancer, but have said these medications may be years from becoming available.

Dr William Hill, also from Crick, said: "Finding ways to block or reduce inflammation caused by air pollution would go a long way to reducing the risk of lung cancer in people who have never smoked."

Around 3.6 million people in Britain smoke e-cigarettes.

Currently, they are recommended as a stop smoking aid, with the NHS stating: "Many thousands of people in the UK have already stopped smoking with the help of an e-cigarette.

"There's growing evidence that they can be effective.

"Using an e-cigarette can help you manage your nicotine cravings."

However, alongside the potential lung cancer concerns, there are also worries that vapes are being deliberately marketed and sold to children. 

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According to data from NHS Digital, one in five 15-year-olds in England now use e-cigarettes, attracted largely by colourful, sweet-like branding. 

While a survey from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has found vaping has almost doubled amongst 11 to 17-year-olds in Scotland in just two years, rising from four per cent in 2020 to seven per cent in 2022. 

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