Electronic cigarettes related to wheezing, shortness of breath


According to an online survey, e-cigarette use is related to a higher frequency of wheezing and shortness of breath in adolescents and young adults. The association was present even after controlling the consumption of cigarettes and cannabis.

Previous studies in adolescents and young adults have shown associations between the use of e-cigarettes and wheezing, shortness of breath, i asthma. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YRBS) poll by CDC and other health agencies, conducted between 2015 and 2017, found that 63.5% of young people who used electronic cigarettes also used some combination of cigarettes and cannabis. Combined use was associated with a 55% to 65% increase in self-declaration probabilities asthma.

The Tobacco and Health Population Assessment (PATH) study, which was published last October, he had similar findings, although he found no association between the use of electronic cigarettes alone and the sibilant.

“The findings of the current study show that we need to keep asking young people about respiratory symptoms, the cost of other tobacco products and cannabis use. As more products enter the market, including cannabis and various devices for e-cigarettes., assessing respiratory health will be important in both adolescents and young people receiving medical care and in research, ”said Dr. Alayna Tackett, in an interview. Tackett presented the study at the American Thoracic Society’s virtual international conference. She is an assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

“I find [the study] very interesting because it seems to identify a physiological response to these e-cigarettes, “said Christopher Pascoe, MD, who was asked to comment.” And they were so young [age 14 to 21 years]. The fact that these symptoms of wheezing and difficulty breathing come from people who are so young suggests that chronic problems may appear later with the continued use of these devices. “

Pascoe is an assistant professor of physiology and pathophysiology at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, where he also works with the Research Institute at Manitoba Children’s Hospital. His own research examines lung tissue collected from pneumothorax surgeries in smokers and e-cigarette users to identify markers of inflammation.

He described the research as a “good start” to unveil the impacts of e-cigarettes and smoking, as some people use both products. “The fact that there was still a double increase in the chances of wheezing, shortness of breath among people who use these e-cigarettes, but who did not use cannabis and did not make cigarettes. I think it is new and suggests that there is it is an effect [of e-cigarettes alone]. “

The study is based on self-reported data, which constitute a significant limitation, especially considering that asthma is often over-reported. “The self-report may be full of things, but I think it’s an interesting starting point for trying to recruit people who are just e-cigarette users and follow them more,” Pascoe said.

The researchers surveyed 2931 individuals between the ages of 14 and 21 between August 6 and August 30, 2020, with a mean age of 18.9 years. Of the respondents, 80% were women and girls and 75% were white. The high percentage of women and girls was unusual. Tackett did not provide any explanation for the atypical demographics, but noted that the current study used sampling for convenience.

The survey asked about the use of e-cigarettes, cigarettes and cannabis in the last 30 days, as well as about the diagnosis of asthma and respiratory symptoms during the same period. The methodology was used by Lucid, a survey management company, which recruited, collected data and provided compensation to participants.

A total of 24% of participants reported asthma, 13% reported wheezing, and 20% reported shortness of breath. Among the 1414 respondents who reported e-cigarette use in the past 30 days, 15% also said they had used cigarettes and 37% said they had used cannabis.

After controlling for age, sex at birth, and race / ethnicity, compared to users who never reported e-cigarettes, there was an association between past 30-day use of e-cigarettes and self-reported asthma (odds ratio) [OR], 1.4; 95% CI: 1.1 – 1.7), wheezing (OR, 3.1; 95% CI: 2.3 – 4.2) and difficulty breathing (OR: 2.9; 95 CI %: 2.3 – 3.6). After researchers monitored cigarette cannabis use for 30 days, the association with asthma was no longer statistically significant (OR, 1.11; 95% CI, 0.87 – 1.41), but rather association with wheezing (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.6 – 3.0) and shortness of breath (OR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.6 – 2.8).

Tackett noted that wheezing and shortness of breath are just two indicators of respiratory health and more research is needed. Your team is conducting follow-up studies using objective measurement tools, such as at home spirometry in adolescents and young adults who use e-cigarettes exclusively and who have never used e-cigarettes.

“We need to better understand the complex relationships between the use of these products and whether multiple use of products is associated with worse respiratory outcomes,” Tackett said.

Pascoe and Tackett have not revealed any relevant financial relationship.

American Thoracic Society (ATS) 2021 International Conference: Summary A3199. Filed May 14, 2021.

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