Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

New Scientist breaks embargo on vaping-cancer study in PNAS

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E-cigarettes — aka vaping — may not involve smoke or a flame, but a study of their potential risks may have just landed New Scientist in a hot spot.

From an email that went out to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) media list at 10:47 a.m. Eastern today, more than four hours before the embargo on the study was scheduled to lift: 

PNAS is lifting the embargo on the following manuscript. All other manuscripts are under the scheduled embargo of Monday, January 29, 3 pm US ET.

  • E-cigarettes and DNA damage

Researchers report the DNA-damaging potential of E-cigarette smoke (ECS). E-cigarettes deliver nicotine as an aerosol without burning tobacco, and therefore avoid the carcinogenic byproducts of tobacco curing and combustion. E-cigarettes are marketed as a safer alternative to smoking tobacco. Moon-shong Tang and colleagues found that mice exposed to ECS had higher levels of DNA damage in the heart, lungs, and bladder, compared with control mice exposed to filtered air. Mice exposed to ECS also had reduced DNA repair activity and lower levels of certain DNA repair proteins in the lungs relative to control mice. Similar effects were observed in cultured human lung and bladder cells exposed to nicotine and nicotine-derived nitrosamine ketone (NNK), a carcinogenic nicotine derivative. Cultured human cells exposed to nicotine and NNK also had higher rates of mutation and tumorigenic transformation than control cells. The results suggest that nicotine nitrosation can occur in certain human and mouse tissues, and that the resulting products are further metabolized into DNA-damaging compounds. Thus, although ECS has fewer carcinogens than tobacco smoke, E-cigarette smokers might have a higher risk than nonsmokers of developing lung and bladder cancers and heart diseases, according to the authors.

 Article #17-18185: “E-cigarette smoke damages DNA and reduces repair activity in mouse lung, heart, and bladder as well as in human lung and bladder cells,” by Hyun-Wook Lee et al.

As the New Scientist story that broke the embargo points out, this is a hotly debated issue:

[A] major US report out last week concluded that vaping is likely to be “far less harmful” than conventional cigarettes. This is a watershed, as US doctors have previously been cautious about promoting vaping as a way of quitting smoking, unlike in the UK.

It’s unclear whether New Scientist will face sanctions. PNAS tells Embargo Watch that it is looking into the circumstances of the break.

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Written by Ivan Oransky

January 29, 2018 at 12:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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