In a study published in the journal Oncotarget, researchers found that the chemicals present in electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) vapor were equally as damaging – in some cases, more damaging – to mouth cells as tobacco smoke.
Such damage can lead to an array of oral health problems, including gum disease, tooth loss, and mouth cancer.
While e-cigarette liquids do not contain tobacco – a highly harmful component of conventional cigarettes – they do contain nicotine and other chemicals, including flavoring agents.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the use of e-cigarettes has increased in recent years, particularly among young people. In 2015, 16 percent of high-school students reported using the devices, compared with just 1.5 percent in 2011.
E-cigarettes are considered by many to be safer than conventional smoking, but because the devices are relatively new to the market, little is known about the long-term effects of vaping on health.