New Study Shows that E-Cigarette Use Is an Independent Risk Factor for Respiratory Disease

M. May Zhang, PharmD candidate
Published Online: Wednesday, March 11th, 2020
Use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), or vaping, has drastically increased in recent years, primarily among young adults. About 1 in 5 young adults use e-cigarettes regularly, and 1 in 4 believe that e-cigarettes are harmless and nonaddictive.1

E-cigarettes aerosolize nicotine mixed with flavoring and preservative agents. Though combustible tobacco products, such as cigarettes and cigars, are widely recognized as causes of respiratory disease, e-cigarettes are often promoted as safe alternatives. However, studies show that vaping leads to chronic pulmonary inflammation, tissue damage, oxidative stress, and mucus hypersecretion.

A December 2019 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows the first population-based, longitudinal analysis of the relationship between e-cigarettes and respiratory disease. The researchers used data from 32,320 participants in the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study, a national population-based study led by the NIH and FDA.2-3 At baseline and over 2 years, researchers noted whether respondents had respiratory disease, used e-cigarettes, and/or used combustible tobacco products.

A number of subjects reported both respiratory disease and e-cigarette use at baseline. Even after controlling for confounding factors that included age, BMI, poverty level, and combustible tobacco smoking, there was a significant association between former or current e-cigarette use and the risk of respiratory disease.

Read the full article on Pharmacy Times.

May Zhang is a 2022 PharmD Candidate at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.

  1. Tallent A. National Survey Reveals One in Five Young Adults Regularly Uses E-Cigarettes and Believes They are Harmless, Not Addictive. American Society of Clinical Oncology. Published September 26, 2019. Accessed January 10, 2020.
  2. Bhatta DN, Glantz SA. Association of E-Cigarette Use With Respiratory Disease Among Adults: A Longitudinal Analysis. Am J Prev Med. December 2019. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2019.07.028.
  3. Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) - Home. National Institutes of Health. Accessed January 10, 2020.

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