Here’s a question many newer vapers ask – is vaping bad for athletes? Any experienced vaper who has switched from smoking will tell you that they’ve seen very drastic health improvements after switching. But what about nicotine in general? For example, it’s been a long tradition in professional baseball with athletes chewing tobacco. This could be due to beliefs of nicotine and enhanced sports performance. Athletes and nicotine use appears to be growing.
According to a study published this month, anywhere from a third to nearly half of serious athletes playing team sports are using nicotine to enhance performance. The author of the study, School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition Senior Lecturer Dr. Toby Mundel found that nicotine use is fairly high in team sports and is increasing. So he designed this study to try to figure out why athletes are using it and how it affects physical performance.
Some recent studies claim that vaping might lead to increased bladder cancer risk as well as higher risk of mortality for bladder cancer patients.
This data was presented at the 112th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association earlier this month, which talks about how smoking is a clear cause of bladder cancer, although risk of vaping has yet to be determined.
This data took into account three different studies.
Smoking Intensity Predicts Survival in Bladder Cancer Patients
The first study reviewed data from a study collected from 1981 to 2009. This study showed that smoking more packs per day increases risk of death in patients with bladder cancer while smoking less than 1-2 packs per day significantly reduces risk.
I have no idea what the researchers were thinking when they translated this data to vapers. Vaping isn’t anything like smoking and the results of this study is not at all relevant.
Bladder Carcinogens In Urine of E-Cig Users
The second study consisted of testing the urine of 13 electronic cigarette users and 10 non-users for five known bladder carcinogens.
What the researchers found was that 92% of the e-cig users tested positive for two of the five cancer causing compounds that they were looking for.
There are some pretty big things missing from this research. For one, the sample size is extremely low. And how many of these e-cig users are dual users? And how long has it been since these participants last smoked a cigarette? And what products were these people using? And how were these compounds formed in the vapor? I also don’t know what methods were used of if vaping product were provided to the participants.
Something interesting that Dr. Farsalinos also pointed out in regards to this study is that previous research on the two cancer-causing compounds the researchers found is entirely dependent on environments. Both o-toluidine and 2-naphthylamine have been found in other studies to exist in the same amounts in smokers as it does in non-smokers, which is because humans can uptake these chemicals from their environments. Dr. Farsalinos says this is why these two biomarkers not always used to measure toxin exposure from cigarette smoke.
What the researchers should have done is test the aerosol for these compounds, not the urine of the participants.
Vapor Results in Tumor-Inducing DNA Damage
And finally, they showed data from a study that showed e-cigarette vapor inducing DNA damage in the bladder.
Their results showed that vapor causes tumor-inducing DNA damage in the bladder membrane.
They also found that nicotine, nitrosamine, and formaldehyde cause the same damage in bladder cells and inhibit DNA repair. They also say that nicotine can be nitrosatized in cells, which would metabolize into carcinogenic nitrosamines and formaldehyde.
The problem with this last part is that they tested nicotine on cells. That’s not the same way nicotine comes into contact with our cells from vaping. You can also look at research on smokeless tobacco like chew and snus, which shows that it’s not associated with risk of bladder cancer. So if chew, which has nicotine, is not linked to bladder cancer risk, why would the nicotine in electronic cigarettes?
And the formaldehyde scare has already been debunked. Large amounts of formaldehyde is only formed from burnt wicks. And formaldehyde is also produced naturally by our bodies and is found naturally in many foods we eat, such as fruits, vegetables, and fish.
These Studies Are Useless
There’s clearly tons of misleading information in these studies and in the researcher’s conclusions, but when you look into the data, you see that there’s actually nothing conclusive or convincing here.