Nav: Home

New study links electronic cigarettes and wheezing in adults

February 28, 2019

Electronic cigarette use ("vaping") is associated with wheezing in adults, according to a new study published in the journal Tobacco Control. People who vaped were nearly twice as likely to experience wheezing compared to people who didn't regularly use tobacco products. Wheezing, which is caused by narrowed or abnormal airways, is often a precursor to other serious health conditions such as emphysema, gastro-esophageal reflux disease, heart failure, lung cancer and sleep apnea.

Study author Deborah J. Ossip, Ph.D. says the findings are consistent with past research that shows emissions from electronic cigarette aerosols and flavorings damage lung cells by generating harmful free radicals and inflammation in lung tissue.

"The take-home message is that electronic cigarettes are not safe when it comes to lung health," says Ossip, a tobacco research expert and professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). "The changes we're seeing with vaping, both in laboratory experiments and studies of people who vape, are consistent with early signs of lung damage, which is very worrisome."

Electronic cigarettes are extremely popular in the U.S. Data from the National Center for Health Statistics indicates that close to 13 percent of U.S. adults have tried electronic cigarettes and nearly 4 percent currently use them. Although electronic cigarettes are marketed as a less harmful alternative to cigarette smoking, many concerns remain related to the long-term health consequences of vaping.

Researchers from URMC analyzed data from more than 28,000 adults in the U.S. who took part in the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study. After adjusting for age, gender, race/ethnicity, body mass index, secondhand smoke exposure and other factors, adult vapers were 1.7 times more likely to experience wheezing and related respiratory symptoms (such as difficulty breathing) compared to non-users.

Lead study author Dongmei Li, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Clinical and Translational Research at URMC, acknowledges that there are limitations to the study. PATH study data are self-reported, so it's possible that information collected from participants is subject to recall bias. The analysis cannot prove that vaping causes wheezing; it only identifies an association between the two. Finally, PATH data does not include information on some important factors that could influence the results, such as participants' diet and physical activity levels.

Despite these limitations, senior study author Irfan Rahman, Ph.D., professor of Environmental Medicine at URMC, says the research clearly identifies another health repercussion from vaping. This is particularly concerning given new data released from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that shows a dramatic uptick in youth vaping. According to the report, in 2018 vaping increased by 78 percent among ninth to 12th graders and 48 percent in sixth to eighth graders.

With the emergence of small, sleek vaping devices like Juuls that are used with nicotine pods in hundreds of different flavors (popular flavoring chemicals include fruit, candy and dessert), Rahman fears the number of young people who vape will continue to grow and that serious health consequences, including allergies, loss of immunity, and subsequent infections will follow.
-end-
Research reported in this study was conducted by the Western New York Center for Research on Flavored Tobacco Products, a program led by scientists at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York, and URMC. The study was supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products under Award Number U54CA228110. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH or the FDA. Li's time is supported in part by the University of Rochester CTSA award number UL1 TR002001 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health.

University of Rochester Medical Center

Related Tobacco Articles:

Why the marijuana and tobacco policy camps are on very different paths
Paper looks at diverging trajectories of cannabis and tobacco policies in the US and attempts to explain some of the reasoning behind the different paths, while discussing possible implications.
Tobacco the 'silent killer' of HIV patients, say researchers
Researchers at the University of York have shown that tobacco use is more common among HIV positive individuals than HIV negative individuals.
National study looks at tobacco advertising and susceptibility to use tobacco among youth
Among 12- to 17-year-olds who have never used tobacco products, nearly half were considered receptive to tobacco marketing if they were able to recall or liked at least one advertisement, report researchers at University of California San Diego Moores Cancer Center and Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center, in a new national study.
E-cigarettes are expanding tobacco product use among youth
E-cigarettes are actually attracting a new population of adolescents who might not otherwise have smoked tobacco products, according to a new UC San Francisco study.
Researchers sequence genome of tobacco hornworm
A Kansas State University-led international team of 114 researchers has sequenced the genome of the tobacco hornworm, or Manduca sexta.
Smokers quitting tobacco also drink less alcohol
People who have recently begun an attempt to quit smoking tobacco are more likely to try to drink less alcohol than other smokers, according to research published in the open-access journal BMC Public Health.
Tobacco smoke makes germs more resilient
University of Louisville School of Dentistry researcher David A. Scott, Ph.D., explores how cigarettes lead to colonization of bacteria in the body.
Hiding tobacco products at convenience stores reduces teens' risk of future tobacco use
The study, conducted in a one-of-a-kind laboratory replica of a convenience store, is the first to use a realistic setting to examine whether limiting displays of cigarettes and other tobacco products in retail outlets can reduce the intention of young people to begin smoking.
Use of e-cigarettes and alternative tobacco products may lead to increased tobacco use
The increasing use of alternative tobacco products, such as water pipes and e-cigarettes, by children under the age of 18 is a burgeoning public health crisis, researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center write in a commentary in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Something to chew on -- millions of lives blighted by smokeless tobacco
More than a quarter of a million people die each year from using smokeless tobacco, researchers at the University of York have concluded.

Related Tobacco Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#530 Why Aren't We Dead Yet?
We only notice our immune systems when they aren't working properly, or when they're under attack. How does our immune system understand what bits of us are us, and what bits are invading germs and viruses? How different are human immune systems from the immune systems of other creatures? And is the immune system so often the target of sketchy medical advice? Those questions and more, this week in our conversation with author Idan Ben-Barak about his book "Why Aren't We Dead Yet?: The Survivor’s Guide to the Immune System".