E-cigarettes have been linked to eating disorders in college students, reports the findings of a newly published study.

TORONTO — Researchers recently published their findings suggesting a link connected to electronic cigarette use and the increased risk for an eating disorder diagnosis among US college students. Such a study provides dubious conclusions related to the harms of electronic cigarettes on young adults who vape.

“The higher prevalence of vaping among those with eating disorder symptoms is concerning given that the co-occurrence of these behaviors can exacerbate physical health complications such as cardiovascular, pulmonary, and neurological problems,” said Kyle T. Ganson, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, in a statement.

Ganson is the lead author of the study, co-authored by researcher Jason M. Nagata of the University of California, San Francisco Department of Pediatrics in the United States.

“Nicotine vaping may be used by individuals to support eating disorder behaviors and goals, such as suppressing appetite and catalyzing weight loss,” said Ganson. “Nicotine vaping can lead to dependence and future polysubstance use.”

Nagata offers similar remarks about the study’s findings in the same press release featuring Ganson’s remarks.

“The study’s findings are especially relevant as we have seen a surge in referrals for eating disorders and substance use disorders during the pandemic,” he said. “Young people who are struggling with their eating or substance use should seek help from a health professional. Clinicians should screen young people for disordered eating and substance use, especially during the pandemic.”

The findings of the study were published in the academic journal Eating Behaviors.

“Vaping or e-cigarette use was associated with higher odds of all eating disorder measures, including the self-reported lifetime eating disorder diagnosis items (any diagnosis, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder) and elevated eating disorder risk, while adjusting for demographic and confounding variables,” notes an abstract for the study published online.

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Michael McGrady is a columnist for Vaping Post's English edition. He is a critically acclaimed journalist with awards and recognition from across the industry. He was a finalist for ECigClick's annual vape awards in 2019 and 2020, a KAC Tobacco Harm Reduction Scholarship Fellow in 2019, among other honours. He is also the host of Vaping Weekly, the Post's podcast. All articles express his own opinion and do not necessarily reflect the Editor's view.