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A developing vaping trend has been described as “gradual but steady.  

Significant could be another way to describe the recent rise of cancer patients reaching out to e-cigarettes as a means of mental and physical relief, according to HealthDay News.    

Reviewing the results of a University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center study, lead author Dr. Nina Sanford said: “The gradual but steady increase is quite striking. The high prevalence of e-cigarette use among younger cancer patients and survivors is concerning.”  

Sanford serves as an assistant professor of radiation oncology at the Dallas-based facility.  

To collect data for the research, Sanford and her team analyzed the habits of more than 13,000 cancer patients and concluded the percentage of cancer patients utilizing vaping devices rose to 11 percent during 2017, up from 8.5 percent three years earlier.   

Specifically looking at individuals 50 years old and younger, the rate was slightly higher, 27 percent in 2017 compared to 23 percent in 2014, according to the article published May 30 in the health journal JAMA Oncology.  

Traditional cigarette smoking by cancer patients “remained stable” during the three-year timeframe, Sanford wrote.  

While a series of recent studies indicate vaping is less risky than combustible cigarettes, long-term side effects, like causing cancer or lung disease, likely will not be known for a decade or two.   

“It’s a new area,” Sanford said. “There’s just no long-term data on e-cig use so there’s going to be a lot of controversy on what to do until more rigorous studies are published, particularly given the diverse entities involved, ranging from cancer organizations to e-cigarette companies.”  

Sanford pointed to the fact traditional cigarettes, when smoked over a period of time, can slow down a cancer patient’s healing process following surgery and radiation treatment. Sanford could not confirm if e-cigarettes will act in a similar fashion.  

“I don’t encourage it,” Sanford said, “but I also am honest that the jury is still out on what the long-term effects of e-cigarette use are.” 

Looking for more vaping research? Check out our Vape News page!