Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy on March 13, 2015
Fadlo Khuri, MD Deputy Director, Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University
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Fadlo Khuri, MD: The unknowns that concern me and should concern all of us are many. Nicotine is highly addictive. Whether it’s delivered through a regular cigarette or an e-cigarette or a patch. And we also believe there are some data that nicotine may promote certain cancer signaling networks, how cancers talk to themselves to grow. There’s also very good evidence that nicotine, particularly in children, adolescents and young adults, can cause some rewiring of the brain’s circuitry. All those are dangers of e-cigarettes. The e-cigarette vapor as you know is heated. It doesn’t contain the same tobacco carcinogens that are in tobacco smoke, but you may now that Phillip Morris for example is developing new products that allow some heating of actual tobacco as part of the e-cigarette platform. So that risk needs to be weighed in. We don’t have any evidence that they can cause on their own cancers of the lung, nose, mouth, except as a gateway to picking up regular cigarettes.