A new study is claiming that vaping can be just as bad for your health as picking up a real cigarette. The study, conducted by scientists at the University of Connecticut, concluded that the nicotine liquid-filled devices can cause as much damage to human DNA as standard tobacco products. Karteek Kadimisetty, a chemist at the university, said, “From the results of our study, we can conclude that e-cigarettes have as much potential to cause DNA damage as unfiltered regular cigarettes.”

To begin the study, the researchers tested how known cancer-causing chemicals found in regular cigarettes damaged a DNA sample. They then tested how various chemicals used in e-cigarettes affected DNA. A typical e-cigarette is filled with a variety of chemicals, including propylene glycol, glycerine, nicotine, and flavorings such as menthol.

The results were surprising. Kadimisetty said, “I never expected the DNA damage from e-cigarettes to be equal to tobacco cigarettes.” The chemists wrote that the damage caused by vaping increased as a person took more puffs of an e-cigarette.

Scientists used a revolutionary 3D printing process to test the DNA. The method manufactured DNA sampling chips, which can cost thousands of dollars, for just a dollar per unit. The team hopes that the new testing method will provide researchers with an economical method of detecting cancer in patients earlier.

Previous studies are split on how harmful e-cigarettes are for teens and adults. Some doctors and advocates insist that vaping is a relatively safe way for smokers to stop using dangerous tobacco products. Others say that the risks of vaping are unclear. Some people are becoming vaping fans because they think there’s no danger involved.

It is well known that tobacco smoke is full of nasty chemicals that can cause cancer and other health problems. Also, since many e-cigarette users are either former or current smokers, it can be difficult to determine whether the cancer risk comes from smoking or vaping. More research is needed before those determinations can be made.