In 2019 a study came out in the well-respected New England Journal of Medicine that suggested that people who smoked cigarettes could successfully quit by transitioning to inhaling nicotine in e-cigarettes (“vaping”).
Subsequently many cigarette smokers began their journey of quitting by transitioning to vaping and health care professionals even began to recommend e-cigarettes as aids to help those addicted to cigarettes as a method for smoking cessation. However, vaping has not turned out to be the magic bullet to quitting cigarette smoking and in fact has been demonstrated to be harmful to lung and cardiovascular health.
First, it needs to be noted that millions of young people have become addicted to nicotine through vaping that were not prior cigarette smokers.
It is not a secret that vaping companies advertise to young people and their marketing efforts target this demographic. Vapes are not used only for nicotine products and when used for cannabis products, can pose other serious health risks. There was a rash of “vaping associated pulmonary injury” cases beginning in 2019, some of which resulted in death. These appear to be related to the Vitamin E acetate found in THC containing e-cigarettes.
Initially animal studies, and more recently human studies, have demonstrated the harm vaping can do to the lungs.
A large study out of Boston University’s School of Public Health and School of Medicine that was recently published in November 2020, demonstrates a significant increase in respiratory disease among those who vape nicotine products. These findings were adjusted for all other tobacco products, both smoke and smokeless, as well as marijuana use and secondhand smoke exposure and for chronic illness and a variety of other demographics. This well-designed study found that vaping leads to an increase risk of asthma, COPD/emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Over all the risk for respiratory disease was 21% in former e-cigarette users and 43% in current e-cigarette users.
Because the technology of e-cigarettes was new, the long term data was previously lacking.
But now the information is coming and it is becoming more and more evident: e-cigarettes are not safe and can cause damage to the respiratory system. If you are currently vaping talk to your doctor about how to quit or visit https://www.becomeanex.org/.
Hello! My name is Carrie Ward and I am a board-certified Internal Medicine MD and an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. I am passionate about medicine and find fulfillment in the diversity of my work. I spend most of my time in the outpatient setting where I provide patient-focused comprehensive care to an adult population. Additionally, I enjoy mentoring future doctors from the medical school and spending time in the inpatient setting on the teaching service with the interns and residents. Finally, I am a mom of two-year-old twin boys. I have a true appreciation for the complexities of women’s health and how often it can take a back seat when life gets busy. I hope you might find the “Female Health Collective” a helpful resource to you; I am honored to be a part of it and hope you enjoy my contributions!