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Your Healthy Family: Vaping puts teens at higher risk of oral cancer

Posted at 7:28 AM, Mar 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-15 12:53:09-04

Many people think vaping isn't as bad for you as smoking, but health experts say that's a myth. A dentist says vaping has the same oral effects as tobacco, and puts teens at high risk of oral cancer.

A team of researchers from the University of California found teens who vape had five times the cancer-causing chemicals in their bodies than teens who did not, especially from the fruit-flavored vaping cartridges. Dr. Fred Guerra of Guerra Dental said vaping negatively impacts your mouth in the same ways as tobacco.

"It can be precancerous. It can lead to gum disease. It gives people bad breath. It gives people dry mouth, and dry mouth increases cavities, so while people may think it's safer for the rest of the body, it's not necessarily," Dr. Guerra said.

He said all dentists need to be on the front lines of oral cancer and talk to teens and young adults about the dangers of vaping.

"Dentists are in such a unique position to counsel our patients on never starting. Or if they have, to do it in a manner that's not threatening and not demeaning. To try to show them that they have control over the effects of some of these devices, so that they can make a rational decision to say 'OK, I need to quit. How can I quit?” Dr. Guerra said.

Even if the vaping products have no nicotine, Dr. Guerra said it's still bad for your mouth.

"People that are vaping tend to have more inflamed tissues because, remember, it's an it's an irritant, and it's a constant irritant," he said.

Dr. Guerra said early detection is key, especially in teens and young adults.