ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – According to a new study, vapor from e-cigarettes damage human cells in much the same way as smoke from traditional cigarettes.

Researchers from Boston University grew a batch of human bronchial cells in the presence of electronic cigarette vapor, Consumer Affairs reports. They had a second batch in presence of tobacco smoke. The two batches of cells showed similar patterns that cause cells to lead to cancer.

“While e-cigs may be safer than tobacco, our preliminary study suggest that they may not be benign,” Avrum Spira, M.D., and lead researcher, told Consumer Affairs.

Spira said more research is needed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a huge increase in the number of calls to poison centers involving e-cigarette liquids containing nicotine.

“I am particularly concerned that many e-cigarettes are packaged in bright colors and flavored to smell like candy or fruit, which puts children at higher risk of poisoning,” Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said.

According to an earlier survey, researchers at the University of California San Francisco found that adolescents who used e-cigarettes were more likely to smoke cigarettes and less likely to quit smoking.

“E-cigarettes are likely to be gateway devices for nicotine addiction among youth, opening up a whole new market for tobacco,” Lauren Dutra, a postdoctoral fellow at the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, said in the survey.

The recent study was published in the academic journal Clinical Cancer Research.

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