E-cigarette users could be causing as much damage to their skin as smokers of traditional tobacco cigarettes, according to a study published in Annals of Plastic Surgery.
Chemists at the University of Connecticut found that e-cigarettes filled with a nicotine-based liquid could be as toxic as unfiltered cigarettes when it comes to causing DNA damage to the skin and affecting tissue oxygen levels.
Using a rat skin flap model, the researchers examined the toxic microcirculatory effects (the circulation of the blood in the smallest blood vessels within organ tissues) e-cigarettes may have in comparison with tobacco cigarettes. 58 rats were randomly exposed to room air, tobacco cigarette smoke, medium-nicotine content (1.2%) e-cigarette vapour, or a high-nicotine content (2.4%) e-cigarette vapour. After five weeks, plasma was collected from their skin and tested for nicotine and cotinine (a chemical compound found in tobacco) levels.
The study concluded that both the high-nicotine and medium-nicotine content in the e-cigarette exposure groups caused similar amounts of necrosis and tissue oxygen deficiency when compared with the tobacco cigarette group.