A new study has revealed that vaping IS associated with an increased risk of respiratory diseases such as COPD, Asthma, Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis.
E-cigs which have been mainstream since 2003, deliver an aerosol of nicotine and flavours when a liquid is heated. The products are often promoted as being a healthier alternative to traditional combustible tobacco.
The study which was published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine is one of the first of its kind to look at the link between long-term e-cigarette usage and respiratory diseases.
The research was carried out by scientists at the University of San Francisco who collected the data from over 32,000 adult US citizens between 2013 and 2016 with analysis between 2018 and 2019.
Researchers concluded that e-cigarettes are an independent risk factor for respiratory disease in addition to combustible tobacco smoking.
Although replacing traditional tobacco with e-cigarettes is in theory safer, current evidence suggests that there is a high prevalence of dual usage, the most common use pattern and linked to an increased risk of respiratory disease.
Senior author of the study, Stanton Glantz said, "The odds of developing lung disease for the e-cigarette users was increased by about a factor of 1.3, and for the smokers it was about 1.6. If you're a dual user, it's 3.3".
He continued, "It's the first longitudinal study in the general population to link e-cigs with chronic lung disease," he said. "My guess is that if we were to come back and do this study in another five years, we would probably find bigger effects."
Growing Fears About The Safety Of Vaping
The study highlights the growing fears about the potential health risks of vaping.
With over 9 Million vapers, the United States has seen a large outbreak of serious lung disease, said to be associated with vaping. As of October this year, 1,604 cases have been reported to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) from 49 US states, resulting in around 50 deaths.
The outbreak is thought to be largely among young people with 70% of the patients male with an average age of just 24. Almost half (46%) were under the age of 21.
CDC officials believe that the cause of the problem are illicitly produced vaping products that contain THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) the main psychoactive component of cannabis.
Head of the CDC team investigating the outbreak Dr Dana Meaney-Delman said, "We've narrowed this clearly to THC-containing products that are associated with most patients who are experiencing lung injury. The specific substance or substances we have not identified yet".
Vaping Linked With Depression In Young People
And it’s not only the physical health risks that may arise from e-cigarette usage.
In a separate cross-sectional study carried out by the John Hopkins University in Baltimore, a significant link between e-cigarette use and depression was found.
The study analysed 892,394 participants between 2016 and 2017, which discovered that e-cigarette users had a higher risk of reporting a history of depression in comparison to those who had never used vaping products.
Study author Dr. Olufunmilayo Obisesan said, "Combustible cigarette smoking has been linked with an increased risk of developing major depressive disorder and has also been shown to be highly predictive of future suicidal behavior among individuals with a history of depression."