SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A new study on the health effects of e-cigarettes shows vaping significantly increases the risk of developing chronic lung diseases.
The study by researchers at University of California, San Francisco, published in the latest issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine, also found that people who vaped and also smoked tobacco – which is what researchers say most adult e-cigarette users do – were at an even higher risk of developing chronic lung disease than those who only smoke or only vape.
“If you’re a smoker and add e-cigarettes and become what’s known as a dual user, which is the most common pattern, then the odds of developing lung disease are more than triple,” said lead researcher Stanton Glantz, PhD, Director of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.
UCSF said the report is the first longitudinal study using a sample representative of the entire U.S. adult population linking e-cigarettes to respiratory illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Previous studies found associations between e-cigarette use and lung disease at a single point in time, which made it impossible for researchers to say whether lung disease was being caused by e-cigarettes or if people with lung disease were more likely to use e-cigarettes, researchers said.
This new study followed people who did not have lung disease and who used e-cigarettes and smoked; following them for three years. UCSF said this type of study provides stronger evidence of a causal link between adult e-cigarette use and lung diseases than prior studies.
“We found that people who use e-cigarettes develop more lung disease than people who don’t smoke e-cigarettes,” Glantz said. “And that takes into account any smoking they may have done.”
E-cigarette users were found to be 1.3 times more likely to develop chronic lung disease, while tobacco smokers increased their risk by a factor of 2.6.
The risk multiplied for for dual users, tripling the risk of developing lung disease.
“Switching from conventional cigarettes to e-cigarettes exclusively could reduce the risk of lung disease, but very few people do it,” said Glantz. “For most smokers, they simply add e-cigarettes and become dual users, significantly increasing their risk of developing lung disease above just smoking.”
People who vape and smoke told KPIX 5 they were troubled by the new research.
“The whole purpose of vaping was to quit smoking or to try to switch over,” said Chris Wells. “I think it’s false advertising. I think it’s just wrong of them to do in the first place. I really believed that they weren’t just safer but that they were safe – at the time.”
“I’ve seen it work for some people,” said Nick Daniels. “But for me, I picked up a cigarette while I was vaping and then I was doing both.”
“They’re just not sure exactly what it is yet,” said Rick Charbonneau. “So, I felt like they’re using my generation and the younger generation as guinea pigs.”