Vaping linked to bronchitis in new study – warning issued

It has been known for decades that smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes is seriously harmful to our bodies.

So when e-cigarettes were launched it was hoped they would provide a healthier alternative.

But various studies have since found the habit could have a damaging effect on our lungs, teeth and memory, among other issues.

And now new research has concluded that users of e-cigarettes could run the risk of a serious lung infection or respiratory condition through vaping.

A study by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Centre in the US, warned that vaping could even lead to bronchitis – an inflammation of the lungs often associated with tobacco products.

Sufferers of bronchitis can experience symptoms such as chest pain, wheezing, breathlessness and coughing up mucus.

While it often gets better within around three weeks it can result in serious complications like pneumonia and respiratory failure, both of which can prove fatal.

The study, which was published in the British Medical Journal, found that participants who had vaped within the last month were 81 percent more likely to wheeze compared to those who had never used vapes.

For the purpose of the study, wheezing was classified as struggling to catch a breath while hurrying on flat land or walking on a slight incline.

This group were also more likely to have had bronchitis in the last 12 months or experience other bronchitis-related symptoms including daily cough lasting three months in a row or phlegm and congestion without a cold.

Worryingly, participants who had vaped in the last month further had a 78 percent greater risk of suffering from shortness of breath.

Study author Doctor Alanya Tackett, said: “This study identified prospective associations between e-cigarette use and wheeze, bronchitic symptoms and shortness of breath, even when controlling for use of combustible cannabis and cigarette use and second-hand exposure to e-cigarettes/cigarettes/cannabis.

“This study contributes to emerging evidence from human and toxicological studies that e-cigarettes cause respiratory symptoms that warrant consideration in regulation of e-cigarettes.

“It suggests that regulatory assessments of the population health cost underestimate the effects of late adolescent and young adult e-cigarette, cannabis and tobacco product use.”

As part of the study the team tracked the respiratory health of 2,097 school-age participants who completed a survey on tobacco products and respiratory symptoms in 2014.

Around half of them were followed up in 2017 and 2018 with further surveys.

In 2014 just under 12 percent of participants said they had vaped in the last 30 days, which rose to 15.5 percent in 2018.

The study said: “Data collected from 2014 to 2018 among a diverse sample of young adults in southern California showed that e-cigarette use was associated with respiratory symptoms after accounting for concurrent cigarette and cannabis use as well as second-hand exposure to each of these products and second-hand exposure to e-cigarettes.

“The results strengthen epidemiological evidence of adverse respiratory effects of e-cigarettes that is consistent with known effects of e-cigarette ingredients.”

Common symptoms of bronchitis include:

  • A cough – you may cough up clear, white, yellow or green mucus
  • Chest pain when coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • A sore throat
  • A runny nose
  • A high temperature.

The NHS advises seeking an urgent GP appointment or calling 111 if you experience symptoms and:

  • You’ve had a cough for more than three weeks
  • You cough up blood or blood-stained mucus
  • You have chest pain that comes and goes, or when breathing or coughing
  • You’re over 65
  • You’re pregnant
  • You have a long-term condition, such as diabetes, or a heart, lung or kidney condition
  • You have a weakened immune system – for example, you have a condition that affects the immune system, or you’re having chemotherapy
  • You feel very unwell.


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