Teens, Adults Who Use E-Cigarettes Have Increased Odds of Asthma, Asthma Attacks

Jill Murphy, Associate Editor

Study indicates that teens and adults who use e-cigarettes have increased odds of developing asthma and having asthma attacks.

New research presented at the American Thoracic Society 2021 International Conference suggests that although vaping was once considered to be a less harmful alternative to smoking, teens, and adults who use e-cigarettes have increased odds of developing asthma and having asthma attacks.

Teresa To, PhD, senior scientist in the Child Health Evaluate Sciences program at the Hospital for Sick Children, and colleagues sought to determine whether youth and young adults who currently use e-cigarette have greater odds of self-reported asthma and have had an asthma attack within the past 12 months.

The researchers used data from the 2015-2016 and 2017-2018 cycles of the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). The cross-sectional survey collects self-reported data regarding health status, health determinants, and behaviors.

The survey showed that 3% of participants reported e-cigarette use within the past 30 days, which corresponds to 1 in 32 individuals using e-cigarettes during that time period, according to the study. Approximately half of e-cigarette users surveyed also reported smoking cigarettes daily, with 13% of e-cigarette users having asthma. Individuals with asthma had nearly 24% greater odds of having had an asthma attack within 12 months.

"To curtail the adverse health effects of vaping we should raise the awareness of the potential harmful health effects of vaping, and develop and implement evidence-based strategies to prevent and reduce e-cigarette use, especially in youth," To said in the release. "We should also provide means and support to help those who currently vape to quit."

The study included 17,190 individuals 12 years of age and above who participated in the CCHS, of whom 3.1% reported e-cigarette use in the past 30 days. Following statistical adjustments for other variables that might affect the findings, e-cigarette users were found to have 19% higher odds of having asthma. Current smokers showed 20% higher odds of having asthma, whereas former smokers had 33% higher odds. Individuals who never smoked or used e-cigarettes did not have significant associations with asthma.

"Interestingly, our study found a significantly higher proportion of those who used e-cigarettes reported fair to poor mental health (15%) compared to those who did not vape (7%)," To said in the press release.

To added that those who used e-cigarettes had 60% greater odds of self-reported high levels of life stress compared to those who did not.

“While vaping may not cause stress, it appears that vape cravings may be triggered by stress and anxiety, making it harder for the e-cigarette user to quit,” To said in the press release. “This may be particularly relevant during the pandemic when stress and anxiety are highly prevalent."

To concluded that the findings suggest e-cigarette use is a modifiable risk factor for asthma that should be considered in the primary care of youth and young adults.

REFERENCE

Teens, adults who use E-cigarettes have increased odds of asthma, asthma attacks. EurekAlert! Published May 14, 2021. Accessed May 14, 2021. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-05/ats-taw050721.php