New Study Says E-Cigarettes Are Not Good for Lung Health
Think before you vape.
These handheld devices—which simulate the experience of smoking by heating a nicotine-infused liquid that generates a satisfying cloud of smoke—are virtually everywhere these days, and their long-term health effects are being studied in real time. But this week, a new study published in the journal Tobacco Control offers some of the first data on the immediate effects of vaping.
University of Rochester Medical Center researchers 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, and found that adult vapers were 1.7 times more likely to experience wheezing and related respiratory symptoms compared to those who don't smoke anything at all. (For the record, 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.)
Dongmei Li, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Clinical and Translational Research at URMC and lead author of the study, noted that because its finding were self-reported, the study cannot prove that vaping causes wheezing, but the fact that there is a correlation between the two should make you think twice before picking up a vape pen.
"The take-home message is that electronic cigarettes are not safe when it comes to lung health," said Deborah J. Ossip, a tobacco research expert and co-author of the study. "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."
That's even scarier when you take into account how popular vaping is among the nation's youth. A recent report from the CDC says that e-cigarette use has increased from 11.7 percent to 20.8 percent among high school students, and that there were 1.5 million more young e-cigarette users in 2018 than in 2017.
The e-cig of choice for those young people? Juul.
Make no mistake—they're addictive. When one Maine high school student was brought into the vice principal's office for getting caught vaping several times, his response was frightening : "I [just] can't stop."
So, for now, the takeaway message is to not try it at all, because who knows what dangers it yields. And if you're still smoking traditional cigarettes, check out The Single Best Way to Stop Smoking You've Never Tried.
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