With vaping no less harmful than traditional cigarettes, a new study suggests it is associated with wheezing in adults, which is a precursor to serious health conditions including heart failure, lung cancer and sleep apnoea. Wheezing refers to breathing with a whistling or rattling sound in the chest and is caused by narrowed or abnormal airways. The study showed that people who vaped were nearly twice as likely to experience wheezing compared to people who did not regularly use tobacco products.
“The take-home message is that electronic cigarettes are not safe when it comes to lung health,” said Deborah J. Ossip, professor from the University of Rochester Medical Center in the US.
“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,” added Ossip.
For the study, the team included more than 28,000 adults. The findings, published in the journal Tobacco Control, showed that adult vapers were 1.7 times more likely to experience wheezing and related respiratory symptoms such as difficulty in breathing compared to non-users. 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.
With the emergence of small, sleek vaping devices that are used with nicotine pods in hundreds of different flavours, the researchers fear 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. However, the researchers maintained that the analysis cannot prove that vaping causes wheezing; it only identifies an association between the two.