VAPE NO WAY
Vaping ‘epidemic’ putting teenage girls at risk of breast cancer, leading doc warns
The number of kids who have tried vaping has doubled in just four years - who knows what the future ramifications will be
By Miranda Larbi, Digital Health & Fitness Reporter
18th March 2019, 4:08 pm
Updated: 18th March 2019, 5:40 pm
Teenage girls who vape may be dramatically raising the risk of developing breast cancer in later life, an expert has warned.
Top breast cancer surgeon Professor Kefah Mokbel believes that the epidemic of teen vaping could lead to hoards of young women developing the disease.
A breast cancer expert warns that we could see a vaping-led boom in breast cancer cases
Toxic substances in the vapours have been linked to breast cancer particularly those who have been exposed to them in their teens.
That's why Professor Mokbel has written to health and education officials, pleading them to issue new guidance for potential dangers of e-cigs.
He has said it would be “unforgivable” to do nothing - particularly as the number of kids who have tried vaping has doubled in just four years.
Teenage girls are most at risk
In a letter to ministers published by the Mail on Sunday, Professor Mokbel wrote: “I believe vaping is very likely to increase the long-term risk of cancer.
“I fear a grave, unintended consequence of promoting vaping as a safer alternative to smoking has been large numbers of school-age children taking it up.
“What too few people realise is that e-cigarette vapours not only contain addictive nicotine, they also contain numerous potentially toxic chemicals that may well increase lifetime risk of cancer.
“It is particularly important adolescent females avoid exposure to these agents, as they can change the development of the breasts during puberty, raising the risk of breast cancer later in life."
Vaping isn't harmless
Public Health England has said consistently that e-cigarettes are around 95 per cent less harmful than tobacco.
While Professor Mokbel doesn’t doubt that, he has pointed out that because they haven't been around long, we don’t really know what the long-term effects may be.
He warned that there's evidence toxic substances in the vapours could result in tumours in later life.
We don't have science to prove they're safe
There's been no big study yet to confirm the link between e-cig usage and breast cancer but the prof doesn't believe that means there isn't one.
Professor Mokbel, who has written more than 200 academic papers and 14 books on breast cancer, said that too few people realise “e-cigarette vapours not only contain addictive nicotine they also contain numerous potentially toxic chemicals that may well increase lifetime risk of cancer”.
Some e-cig flavours seem to be marketed towards younger people and teens
Some of these include hormone-disrupting chemicals which can mimic sex hormones such as oestrogen.
The letter comes after a number of studies have been published on the very real health dangers of vaping.
Back in January, experts warned that e-cigarette users are at higher risk of heart attack and stroke, while earlier this month, we revealed that e-cigs make you twice as likely to suffer from wheezing - as well as increasing the risk of heart attack and depression.
A Public Health England report shows 15.9 per cent of 11 to 18-year-olds had either tried e-cigs or were users last year.
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It compares with 8.1 per cent in 2014.
Critic Professor Martin McKee, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said back in February that increased teen use raises “significant concerns”.
He said: “While the number of adolescents currently using e-cigarettes is still considerably lower in the UK than in the USA, it must surely be concerning that the rates are increasing so rapidly.”