VAPING for just three months can lead to gum disease and possibly cancer, experts have warned.
They say the heated and pressurised liquids in e-cigs create conditions in the mouth where dangerous microbes thrive.
They were found in the mouths of young vapers who had never smoked.
Even smokers had a worse oral profile after vaping for four months, the study of 123 found.
Prof Purnima Kumar, of The Ohio State University, claims the research counters the assumption vaping reduces the harm of smoking.
She said: If you stop smoking and start vaping instead, you don’t move back toward a healthy bacterial profile but shift up to the vaping profile.
“Knowing the vaping profile is pathogen-rich, you’re not doing yourself any favours by using vaping to quit smoking.
“I’m not saying nicotine is good for you. But even without the nicotine, vaping has a pretty large impact on the bacterial communities our bodies have regarded as friends.
“I am hoping this research will drive some level of policymaking about the harm we are seeing.
“If we can see changes in people who are otherwise healthy and have nothing wrong with them, then we should start seriously considering why would you put their lives and their wellbeing at risk.”
An estimated six per cent of Brits puff on heated tobacco as an alternative or while they’re trying to give up cigarettes.
The study’s findings were published in the journal Science Advances.