Vaping With Asthma: A Study By Dr. Riccardo Polosa
With the FDA taking a tough line against e-cigarettes, it is more important than ever to share positive research that supports the vaping community. There have been a number of high-profile studies that lament the dangers of vaping but there are as many studies showing the positive benefits of e-cigarettes. New research from the University of Catania, Italy’s oldest university, has suggested that asthmatic smokers may see a reduction in symptoms if they switch to vaping.
Smokers who suffer from asthma are at a higher risk of developing serious health problems says Professor Riccardo Polosa. He and his colleagues decided to study how switching to e-cigarettes would impact on the lungs of an asthmatic smoker. The study used eighteen participants that were identified from medical records as being both smokers and with a history of health problems related to asthma. They also chose patients that had reported using e-cigarettes on two consecutive doctors’ visits. The eighteen participants were a mix of eleven men and seven women.
All participants were smoking around the twenty a day figure. Ten of the subjects switched completely to e-cigarettes and eliminated all tobacco use but the other eight chose to vape and smoke. All began on traditional cigalikes but soon transitioned to more advanced setups. At the end of the study they had been vaping with asthma for ten to fourteen months.
When the patients were recorded as tobacco users the team noted baseline results. They also checked with their doctors that the subjects were stable and their lung conditions were not improving before making the switch to vaping. Patients where then checked up on after six months and one year. During this assessment they used an asthma questionnaire to gauge the participant’s opinion about their lung function. They also conducted tests of lung function and assessed airway hyper-responsiveness.
These check-ups revealed that all questionnaire results improved and there was a notable difference in symptoms reported, with no one describing increased coughing or wheezing. All of them also showed a clear improvement in lung function. After one year all patients showed significant improvement.
There was no negative reaction to vaping from any of the patients and none of the symptoms of asthma increased. The amount they were smoking also decreased massively. Among the group of dual users at the start of the study they were smoking on average 22.4 cigarettes each day by the end of it this figure had dropped to be below four a day. The research team has highlighted that the widespread health improvements may be due to the fact that all participants drastically reduced their tobacco consumption.
The main aim of the study was to see how vaping would impact the lungs of an asthmatic. The real breakthrough came among the dual use group, where despite still consuming tobacco many of them reported the same improvements as the e-cigarette only group. This suggests that asthmatic smokers who don’t want to quit could still experience some benefits by simply using an e-cigarette as well.
Another thing the researchers noted is how they thought e-cigarettes worked well for smokers with no interest in quitting because it is a source of nicotine and provides the habitual hand to mouth action. They believed it was a combination of the physical and psychological effects that made e-cigarettes so efficient as a cessation tool. The study may have been small but not a single participant reported adverse effects from vaping which implies that asthmatics are able to tolerate vaping.
This study offers many important insights into how an asthmatic smoker will react to vaping. Obviously future studies with larger numbers of participants are needed to prove that vaping can help improve asthmatic smokers but this is a great first step.
Are you an asthmatic that vapes? What do you think about this study? Share your thoughts in the comments and on our social media pages.
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