Vaping individuals who don’t smoke cigarettes or marijuana, were more likely to report suffering from asthma-like symptoms, than non-vapers, said the researchers. Lead study author Alayna P. Tackett PhD, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and her team, conducted a web-based survey of 2,931 adolescents and young adults with questions related to the use of e-cigarettes, cigarettes and cannabis, along with self-reported asthma diagnosis and respiratory symptoms, over the previous 30 days.
After controlling for age, gender and race/ethnicity, the compiled data indicated that past 30-day e-cigarette use was associated with increased odds of self-reported asthma, wheezing and shortness of breath, compared with survey respondents who reported never using e-cigarettes.
This relationship held true, even after statistically controlling for those who reported never using cigarettes or cannabis. The prevalence of asthma, wheeze and shortness of breath was 24%, 13% and 20%, respectively. Among past 30-day e-cigarette users, 15% reported using cigarettes and 37% reported cannabis use.
“As more products, including cannabis and various e-cigarette devices, enter the market, assessing respiratory health will be important both where adolescents and young adults receive their health care and in research,” said Dr. Tackett. “This preliminary study highlights the need for more longitudinal studies and studies that incorporate objective assessments of respiratory health to further determine the specific respiratory risks from e-cigarettes. We also need to better understand the complex relationships between these products and whether multiple product use is associated with worse respiratory outcomes.”
Vaping for harm reduction/smoking cessation purposes
Meanwhile, an earlier study by award winning and renowned expert in tobacco harm reduction Prof. Riccardo Polosa, titled “Health effects in COPD smokers who switch to electronic cigarettes: a retrospective-prospective 3-year follow-up”, had indicated that COPD patients who had completely switched to e-cigarettes, reported improved respiratory symptoms. While those who continued to smoke, experienced no change in either measure of disease severity.
“The present study suggests that EC (e-cigarette) use may ameliorate objective and subjective COPD outcomes and that the benefits gained may persist long-term. EC use may reverse some of the harm resulting from tobacco smoking in COPD patients,” concluded Polosa at the time.
Significantly safer than smoking
Similarly, a comprehensive 2019 review also conducted by Polosa, carried out with the aim of comparing the effects of vaping and smoking on lung health, had confirmed once again that vaping is much less harmful.
“We critically assess published research on the respiratory system investigating the effects of ECs in pre-clinical models, clinical studies of people who switched to ECs from tobacco cigarettes, and population surveys. We assess the studies for the quality of their methodology and accuracy of their interpretation. To adequately assess the impact of EC use on human health, addressing common mistakes and developing robust and realistic methodological recommendations is an urgent priority,” read the study Abstract.
“The findings of this review indicate that ECs under normal conditions of use demonstrate far fewer respiratory risks than combustible tobacco cigarettes. EC users and smokers considering ECs have the right to be informed about the relative risks of EC use, and to be made aware that findings of studies published by the media are not always reliable,” concluded Polosa once again.
Read Further: EurekAlert!