Vaping and Asthma
Vaping and respiratory conditions
The term vaping found its place in English language dictionary as the act of inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device. Although most people agree that vaping is far safer than tobacco smoking, there is still a question if vaping is safe in general. By some, vaping is associated with certain health problems which usually include cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Cancer development and lung damage due to vaping are one of the more severe issues debated among researchers who deal with effects of vaping on health.
New studies show that chemicals in e-cigarettes can provoke lung tissue damage which results in inflammation. This decreases lung’s capability to make an obstacle for unwanted intruders like germs, bacteria (Staphylococcus), viruses (flu) and some chemical substances. Popcorn lung is a disease also associated with vaping and represents a condition called bronchiolitis obliterans (BO). This condition is caused when inhaled chemicals damage the smallest airways in the lungs (bronchioles), and the only solution is a lung transplant.
Like many other aspects of vaping, its connection to asthma yet requires further investigations. Asthma is a chronic disease which affects airways. They become inflamed and swollen, thus decrease air flow through the body.
While some people have a genetic predisposition for development of asthma, in others it is caused by inhaling gases, dust, fumes or other harmful substances.
Vaping Causes and Worsens Asthma
Since vaping is accompanied by inhaling different substances, about which you can read here, it is not a wonder that many are suspicious that vaping might cause asthma. Researches which deal with this subject are still insufficient, but here are some interesting results of the studies conducted thus far.
- The world’s biggest respiratory meeting held in Munich in 2014, European Respiratory Society Congress, suggested that e-cigarettes use may cause some severe respiratory system damage. However, the study could not bring up any firm conclusions, as authors stated.
- As for asthmatics who start to vape, Dr. Andreas Lappas of the Hellenic Cancer Society in Athens performed a research and obtained results that show that “E-cigarette smoking has more harmful short-term effects on asthmatics compared with healthy smokers.” How do the researchers know this? With the help of a discipline called oscillometry. As such, instruments used in oscillometry measure the obstruction of the airways. Additional test monitors the level of oxide exhaled (NO). This gas is produced by the respiratory tract cells as an inflammatory response. The bottom line, according to researchers and their testing samples is that e-cigarettes users had worse results in both of these tests.
Vaping Helps Asthmatics
On the other hand, an interesting topic emerges when it comes to vaping and asthma. Unlike the previous results, vaping is thought to ameliorate asthma symptoms and decrease airflow obstruction.
A research group from the University of Catania, led by Prof Ricardo Polosa conducted a study titled “Persisting long term benefits of smoking abstinence and reduction in asthmatic smokers who have switched to electronic cigarettes.” Polosa worked with 18 asthma patients who smoked tobacco or e-cigarettes. Ten of them gave up smoking entirely and switched to e-cigarettes instead. The remaining eight only reduced their tobacco use by combining vaping and smoking.
The final result indicates that switching from standard cigarettes to e-cigarettes may lead to functional and therapeutic outcomes. According to Polosa and his team, electronic cigarettes may even reverse the negative effect of tobacco use in asthma patients who smoke.
What to Believe?
Nobody can give a 100% answer on implications of vaping on asthma. Perhaps the overall lung condition improvement is more of a result of quitting tobacco than vaping. Perhaps the most significant aspect of vaping is the fact that people who vape more smoke less. Such act indeed results in reducing the intensity of asthmatic symptoms, if not the symptoms themselves. On additional benefits of vaping, you can read here.
In the meantime, we hope that vaping community will hear something else besides “there are not enough studies”.