Side Effects of Vaping Increases Asthma Risk for Adults: Study

Researchers indicate that additional regulations, interventions and cessation programs are needed to reduce the risk of early onset asthma from vaping.

Adults who begin vaping later in life face more than twice the risk of developing asthma than teens, according to the findings of a new study, which raises additional concerns about the long-term health risks posed by e-cigarettes.

In findings published this month in the medical journal JAMA Network Open, researchers from the University of Texas called for governments and health agencies to do more to discourage vaping among both adults and teens, although their findings did not find that teens face the same risks of asthma.

The study involved a review of data involving more than 7,700 adults and 17,000 teens between the ages of 12 and 17, from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study, which was conducted from 2013 to 2021. Participants were included if they did not have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and had never used cigarettes.

According to the data, the asthma risks for new adult e-cigarette users were different from those of teens who began vaping. Adults who vaped in the past 30 days had an increased risk of asthma at earlier ages compared to adults who did not vape over the past 30 days, the researchers found.

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By the age of 27, six out of every 1,000 adults reported experiencing asthma. However, the findings indicate adults who recently vaped had a 252% increased risk of developing asthma before the age of 27 compared to those who didn’t vape.

The researchers noted there was no increased risk of developing asthma if participants started vaping as teens.

Vaping Health Concerns

The debate about whether vaping is safer than traditional cigarettes has raged for years with the rise of the popularity of vaping products like JUUL, which a 2019 study found to be as addictive as Marlboro cigarettes.

The findings of the new study indicate adults and not teens face an increased risk of developing asthma. But, prior research does not echo these findings, with a 2021 Canadian study determining that teens and adults face a  greater risk of developing asthma if they vape.

More so, additional research has suggested that e-cigarette use increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and nicotine addiction and causes the same amount of DNA damage as smoking tobacco cigarettes.

The new study’s researchers emphasized the need for interventions, including public campaigns and prevention programs, to help teens and adults quit vaping earlier, which can hopefully translate to reduced rates of asthma.

“Prevention and cessation programs directed to adults who use [e-cigarettes] are needed to educate the public, protect public health, prevent adverse health outcomes, and motivate users to stop,” wrote lead researcher Adriana Perez in the study’s conclusion. “Furthermore, modifying symptom-screening asthma guidelines, resulting in earlier asthma detection and treatment, may reduce morbidity and mortality due to asthma.”

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