A study funded by British American Tobacco has reaffirmed previous reports that e-cigarettes are not as dangerous as cigarettes when it comes to DNA mutation or damage.

Inhaling nicotine from e-cigarettes causes “very little” alterations to genes, and the same cannot be said for traditional cigarettes.

By damaging genes, a number of potentially fatal diseases like cancers and heart diseases can be incurred.

The scientists that conducted the study created a 3D model of the human airway and exposed the tissue to e-cig vapour and cigarette smoke, with matching nicotine concentrations.

A second dose was then applied with double the nicotine content.

A previous study has found no DNA damage as a result of vaping, and another found that e-cig vapour does not cause an oxidative stress response in viable epithelial lung cells.

The study found that, of tissue exposed to cigarette smoke, 873 genes were affected after 24 hours, and 205 after 48 hours.

However, significantly, after 24 and 48 hours of intense exposure to e-cig vapour, just three and one gene was damaged respectively.

Their investigations concluded that cigarette smoke damaged genes in a way that is associated with the development of hung cancer, inflammation and fibrosis, and e-cig vapour caused far less DNA damage than smoking.

Dr James Murphy, British American Tobacco, said: “Our results clearly show that cigarette smoke has an adverse effect on cells, triggering a robust gene expression response.”

“However, even at equivalent or higher dose of nicotine, acute exposure to the test e-cigarette vapour has very limited impact on gene expression compared to cigarette smoke exposure – it’s a striking difference.”