More Factors At Play Than Just E-Cigarettes In Increase In Teen Respiratory Problems: Study

As the teen vaping epidemic has emerged in the United States in recent years, doctors and parents have noted an increase in wheezing among young adults. However, the findings of a new study indicate e-cigarettes alone may not increase the risk of these problems.

In a report published this month in the medical journal JAMA Network Open, researchers from the University of Southern California indicate the problems may be much more complex.

Researchers conducted a study of more than 7,000 adolescents using data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health study from October 2015 and January 2018, evaluating self-reported measures to assess wheezing in the past 12 months and e-cigarette use in the past year.

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Initially, the odds of wheezing in the past 12 months was 75% higher for teens who used e-cigarettes, compared with those who had not used e-cigarettes. However, after adjusting for other variables, such as contact with a smoker in the past week or current use of traditional tobacco cigarettes, the risk of wheezing was not significantly increased based on e-cigarette use.

Researchers determined the other risks that weighed heavily into the risk of wheezing included secondhand cigarette smoke exposure, current use of tobacco cigarettes, and household rules about the use of tobacco.

Once the situation was controlled for these factors the association between vaping and wheezing became insignificant.

The popularity of vaping and increase of use among teens, largely driven by the popularity of JUUL products and flavored e-liquids, has troubled many health experts. E-cigarettes have become the most popular form of tobacco use among teens.

This is problematic as emerging research indicates vaping may be linked to many health problems, including increased risk of heart problems, respiratory symptoms, and exposure to harmful chemicals.

While the findings of the new study suggest vaping alone may not be associated with increased wheezing in teens, this is only one symptom of many possible respiratory symptoms.

Researchers emphasize the need to continue to try to understand the relationship between e-cigarettes and side effects. The respiratory system is complex, and wheezing is just one indicator of respiratory health. More so, the study did not focus on measures to assess lung capacity or airway inflammation.

As a result of increasing e-cigarette use, there is now an epidemic of vaping and teens addicted to JUUL, the leading e-cigarette brand, in the United States, leading to bans on certain flavored products designed to appeal to minors.

A growing number of vaping injury lawsuits continue to be filed against JUUL and the makers of other e-cigarettes, not only involving problems with severe lung damage, but also alleging that the products resulted in life-long nicotine addictions and other injuries.


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