Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


In vitro tests of Vype vapor reveal no cell stress, DNA damage or cell transformation


In each test, Vype ePen, a commercially available e-cigarette, produced the same results as an untreated control -- there was no activity

A series of cell-based tests developed to compare the biological impact of cigarette smoke with e-cigarette vapour revealed no activity in cells exposed to vapour from Vype ePen, a commercially available e-cigarette. In contrast, when the cell culture systems were exposed to cigarette smoke, they exhibited a series of responses including stress responses, DNA damage and cellular transformation, depending on the assay used.

Vype vapor produces the same result as an untreated control -- no activity in tests for cellular stress, double-strand DNA break and tumor promotion.

Credit: British American Tobacco

The use of these tests to assess the biological impact of e-cigarettes was reported by scientists from British American Tobacco at the annual meeting of the Society of Toxicology in New Orleans today.

'The results of these tests show that toxicity and biological activity is unaffected by the vapour from the e-cigarette tested, Vype ePen,' said Dr Kevin McAdam, Head of Next Generation Product (NGP) Research at British American Tobacco. 'These tests are part of a suite of tests being developed to test novel tobacco and nicotine products and could be used to help develop standards for these products in the future,' he said.

E-cigarette vapour can contain nicotine, humectants, flavourings and thermal degradation products, so it is important to understand the potential impact on biological systems.

A number of tests were used to compare the biological impact of cigarette smoke and e-cigarette vapour: cell stress tests, looking at the production of intracellular antioxidants, free radicals and inflammatory markers; assessment of DNA damage, which can set the scene for cancer; and a transformation assay, which measures the transformation or conversion of normal cells into a cancerous cell phenotype.


Cells respond to stress in a number of ways. They can produce compounds that protect the cellular structures or they can recruit compounds from the immune system to help protect the cell or commit suicide.

By measuring the levels of the various compounds produced and the level of cell apoptosis/death, it is possible to determine the levels of cellular stress.

The cell culture systems tested conventional 3R4F reference cigarette and Vype ePen, a commercially available e-cigarette. When cells were exposed to the cigarette smoke, all cell stress responses were activated. These same cell stress responses were not activated on exposure to e-cigarette vapour.


Cellular DNA can become damaged by exposure to toxicants, especially when stressed. DNA double-strand breaks (DSB) in which both strands of the double helix are broken, is the most serious type of DNA damage. This is a possible precursor to cancer and potentially lethal to the cell. The cell attempts to repair the DNA damage by modifying the histone or protein around which the DNA is wrapped. The changes observed in this histone can be used as an indicator of the level of DSB.

When this test was used to compare the impact of conventional 3R4F reference cigarette and Vype ePen on DSBs, the results showed that cigarette smoke induced significant DNA damage in human lung cells. This was dose dependent, that is, the higher the dose, the more DNA damage was induced. E-cigarette vapour produced no affect, even when the dose used was 15 times higher than the equivalent smoke exposure.


Damaged cells often go on to become cancerous. The cells are transformed from normal cells to abnormal cells that clump together and grow uncontrollably, eventually becoming tumour-like. This process can be mimicked in the lab by using cells that are already damaged and testing the tumour-promoting activities of different compounds.

In this case, the cell culture system was used to test the ability of conventional 3R4F reference cigarette and Vype ePen to promote tumour formation in a specialised cell type called Bhas 42.

After exposure to reference cigarettes, the layers of cells were seen to become transformed, clumping together to create colonies, suggesting that the smoke is a tumour promoter. By contrast, the e-cigarette produced no activity.

In each test, the e-cigarette produced the same results as an untreated control - there was no activity.

Many in the public health community believe that e-cigarettes are substantially reduced risk compared to cigarettes. Public Health England, an executive body of the UK Department of Health, recently published a report saying that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than cigarettes. But there are still no internationally agreed testing protocols to establish this.

Media Contact

Marina Murphy


Marina Murphy | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: DNA DNA damage Tobacco cell stress cigarette smoke culture e-cigarette e-cigarettes normal cells

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences

nachricht Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>