Ex-smokers who vape at higher risk of lung cancer

UC tobacco expert Ashley Merianos cited as expert in global media reporting on vape study

One of the few large population, long-term studies of vaping as an alternative to smoking is covered in the global publication Deutsche Welle, with UC’s tobacco researcher Ashley Merianos cited for her expert opinion. 

Ashley L. Merianos, PhD, Assoc Professor, CECH-Human Services

Tobacco use expert Ashley Merianos, PhD. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing+ Brand.

The study, out of South Korea, found that former cigarette smokers who took up e-cigarettes were at a greater risk of a lung cancer diagnosis and cancer-related death than ex-smokers who had quit and avoided e-cigarettes as well.

"Dangerous chemicals found in vaping products that can damage lungs include acrolein, formaldehyde, diacetyl, and ultrafine particles that can be deeply inhaled. Vaping products can also include heavy metals such as lead," Merianos, an associate professor in UC’s School of Human Services, told DW.

According to the article, some studies show that vaping short-term, for less than two years, is not associated with a rise in cancer diagnoses. But this latest study, it says, is one of several more recent studies indicating that vapes may increase the risk of developing cancer later in life, at least for people who used to smoke conventional cigarettes.

Merianos said that for now: Researchers lack the overall evidence to make conclusions about the long-term health effects of vaping, including cancer outcomes.

Merianos is currently serving as a co-investigator on two U.S. National Institutes of Health research projects and is the co-author of the e-book, “Who Vapes?”, a look at E-cigarettes and the potential harm to users have become a prevalent public health problem in the United States especially among adolescents and young adults. Merianos is also an affiliate member of the Thirdhand Smoke Research Consortium.

Read the article.

Merianos is also cited in a prior Deutsche Welle article for opinion her on a study of vaping and pregnancy: Vaping while pregnant: What we know.  

Featured image at top of vape pen and cigarette: iStock Photo/Neydtstock.

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