On the occasion of the World No Tobacco Day last May 31, the Istituto Superiore di Sanità released a fairly dramatic report on cigarette consumption. In fact, according to the latest surveys, 24.2% of the population declares themselves a smoker (almost 1 Italian out of 4). The trend is therefore growing compared to 2019, when smokers represented 22% of the population.
In males there is a higher number of smokers between the ages of 25 and 44 (42.9%). In the age group between 45 and 64, on the other hand, there is a higher prevalence of women (24.5%). Finally, there is also an increase in the consumption of cigarettes in the very young (15-24 years) who, in 45.5% of cases, smoke between 10 and 19 cigarettes a day.
Among the main causes of this increase, of course, the pandemic stands out, which has had an extremely negative impact on our lives. Another decisive aspect, however, is the spread of new tobacco products and the so-called e-cig, ie electronic cigarettes. Many wonder if it hurts to smoke the latter type of cigarette compared to the classic one. On these new products it is quite widespread the perception that they are less harmful (or even not harmful) than traditional cigarettes. In reality this would be false and some recent scientific studies also prove it.
Many wonder if the electronic cigarette hurts more or the regular one, but science has already answered about this
According to a study by the University of Southern California, it seems that the gene expression of those who “vape” e-cigarettes is very similar to that of those who smoke traditional cigarettes. Put simply, those who consume these products could develop genetic alterations that can influence the risk of diseases, including cancer. It is known, in fact, that smoking is one of the main risk factors for cancer, along with others, such as alcohol consumption, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.
The study and the results
The American researchers analyzed the set of messenger RNAs of 82 adults, dividing them into 3 groups:
- people who used e-cigs (some of whom had also used traditional cigarettes);
- traditional cigarette smokers who had never used e-cig;
The comparison between the different RNAs revealed that e-cig users would show alterations of genes that regulate the activity:
- the mitochondria, that is the cell’s energy plants;
- coding for some proteins involved in immune responses.
The cause of these alterations, therefore, seems to be due to exposure to chemicals present in the vapor of e-cig and in the smoke of traditional cigarettes. These chemicals, which have not yet been identified with certainty, could affect the production of free radicals and / or heavy metals. So, many wonder if one or the other cigarette hurts more, but the studies just reported leave no room for further doubts.
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