Έρευνα: Το ηλεκτρονικό τσιγάρο είναι βλαβερό για το DNA και μπορεί να προκαλέσει καρκίνο

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Νέα επιστημονική έρευνα δεν φέρνει καλά νέα για τους λάτρεις του ηλεκτρονικού τσιγάρου, καθώς σύμφωνα με τα ευρήματά της η νικοτίνη στα ηλεκτρονικά τσιγάρα μπορεί να κάνει ζημιά στο DNA, αυξάνοντας έτσι τον κίνδυνο για καρκίνο.

Η εν λόγω έρευνα βασίσθηκε σε πειραματόζωα και καλλιέργειες ανθρωπίνων κυττάρων.

Όμως, ο αντίλογος από άλλους επιστήμονες είναι αφενός πώς ό,τι συμβαίνει στα ποντίκια, μπορεί να μην έχει την ίδια επίπτωση στους ανθρώπους, κάτι που έχει φανεί και σε άλλες έρευνες με ζώα. Αφετέρου, ότι ακόμη κι αν αυξάνει τον κίνδυνο καρκίνου, το άτμισμα παραμένει λιγότερο επικίνδυνο από το κάπνισμα.

Οι ερευνητές, με επικεφαλής τον καθηγητή περιβαλλοντικής ιατρικής Μουν-σονγκ Τανγκ της Ιατρικής Σχολής του Πανεπιστημίου της Νέας Υόρκης, που έκαναν τη σχετική δημοσίευση στο περιοδικό της Εθνικής Ακαδημίας Επιστημών των ΗΠΑ (PNAS), ανέφεραν ότι διαπίστωσαν βλάβες τόσο στο ίδιο το DNA των ποντικιών, όσο και στην ικανότητα του DNA να αυτο-επιδιορθώνει αυτές τις γενετικές βλάβες, προτού εξελιχθούν σε καρκινικές.

Αν αυτό επιβεβαιωθεί από νέες μελέτες, σημαίνει ότι τα ηλεκτρονικά τσιγάρα έχουν τον δικό τους κίνδυνο καρκίνου, δήλωσε ο δρ Ρόι Χερμπστ, επικεφαλής του τμήματος ιατρικής ογκολογίας του Κέντρου Καρκίνου του Πανεπιστημίου του Γιέηλ.

Η δημοφιλία των ηλεκτρονικών τσιγάρων οφείλεται σε μεγάλο βαθμό στην πεποίθηση ότι ο κίνδυνος καρκίνου των παραδοσιακών τσιγάρων οφείλεται κυρίως στις άλλες ουσίες που περιέχουν και όχι στη νικοτίνη, η οποία μπορεί να είναι εθιστική αλλά όχι καρκινογόνος. Όμως η νέα μελέτη παρέχει ενδείξεις ότι η εισπνεόμενη νικοτίνη και κάποια χημικά υποπροϊόντα της μπορεί να «πυροδοτήσουν» καρκίνο μέσω γενετικών μεταλλάξεων.

«Είναι η πρώτη ένδειξη που έχουμε ότι η ίδια η νικοτίνη μπορεί να είναι καρκινογόνος. Είναι κάτι ασφαλώς ανησυχητικό, που σίγουρα κάνει κάποιον να διστάσει στο να διαβεβαιώσει ότι τα ηλεκτρονικά τσιγάρα είναι ασφαλή και μπορούν να χρησιμοποιηθούν από όλους τους ανθρώπους χωρίς συνέπειες» πρόσθεσε ο Χερμπστ.

Οι ερευνητές εξέθεσαν στο εργαστήριό τους επί τρεις μήνες (ένα τρίωρο καθημερινά για πέντε μέρες την εβδομάδα) πειραματόζωα σε ατμό ηλεκτρονικού τσιγάρου, που περιείχε νικοτίνη σε ποσότητα ανάλογη με αυτή που περιέχει το ηλεκτρονικό τσιγάρο (δέκα μιλιγκράμ ανά χιλιοστόλιτρο ατμού).

Οι επιστήμονες διαπίστωσαν μετά το τρίμηνο βλάβες στο DNA των τρωκτικών στην καρδιά, στους πνεύμονες και στην ουροδόχο κύστη τους. Τις ίδιες γενετικές βλάβες βρήκαν και σε καλλιέργειες ανθρωπίνων κυττάρων από πνεύμονες και ουροδόχο κύστη, που εκτέθηκαν επίσης στον ατμό του ηλεκτρονικού τσιγάρου με νικοτίνη, με συνέπεια να μετατρέπονται ευκολότερα σε καρκινικά.

Θα ακολουθήσει μια πιο μακρόχρονη μελέτη για να διαπιστωθεί κατά πόσο όντως τα πειραματόζωα που εκτίθενται για καιρό στο άτμισμα με νικοτίνη, τελικά αναπτύσσουν καρκίνο ή καρδιοπάθεια.

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