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he term “vaping” is used to define the use of electronic cigarettes or other devices to inhale a wide range of heated substances in the form of aerosols.

Electronic cigarettes were initially proposed as an oncologically less harmful alternative to conventional cigarettes, although today it is clear that they are not free from risks.

In fact, although they do not generate carcinogens like those produced by conventional cigarettes, today it is well known that they produce substances harmful to health during their use.

Some mechanisms have recently been reported that can justify the oncogenic action of electronic smoke such as direct chemical action or the genesis of products deriving from pyrolysis and combustion; they can significantly influence the phenomena of epithelial-mesenchymal transition, oxidative stress, mitochondrial toxicity and DNA breakage and fragmentation.

Last but not least, it is essential to analyze the psychological impact of electronic smoking, especially on young non-smokers who – mistakenly believing that it causes no harm or is significantly less risky than traditional smoking – may be pushed to start smoking.

It therefore appears that electronic smoking, rather than representing a valid alternative to traditional smoking to help the smoker to stop smoking, can become a deceptive tool that leads to encouraging the start of smoking by the young smoker who – appropriately informed of the risks – he could instead not have started.


Francesco Petrella