Long-term e-cigarette use shows no health concerns

Posted by DrMendelsohn on 24 November, 2017

Long-term e-cigarette use shows no health concerns in young adults who never smoked tobacco

Professor Riccardo Polosa cropped.jpg

The first long-term study of daily e-cigarette use shows no health concerns in relatively young users who had never smoked tobacco, according to new research presented today at the 2017 Congress of Asian Pacific Society of Respirology (APSR) in Sydney.

The lead author of the study, Professor Riccardo Polosa from the University of Catania (Italy), is a respiratory physician and one of the world’s leading researchers on e-cigarettes. Professor Polosa presented the research findings this morning to an audience of respiratory physicians.

The study, conducted in young-adult, never-smoking, daily e-cigarette users who were carefully followed for at least 3½ years by the research group lead by Professor Polosa, shows:

  • no worsening in spirometry (i.e. lung function);
  • no development of respiratory symptoms;
  • no changes in markers of lung inflammation in exhaled air;
  •  no signs of early lung damage on high resolution computed tomography (HRCT)

Even in the heaviest e-cigarette users (i.e. those with the highest e-liquid consumption and longest vaping history), there was no indication of emerging lung injury as reflected in these physiological, clinical, radiological and inflammatory measures. Moreover, no changes were noted in blood pressure or heart rate.

Professor Polosa says investigating prospective health changes in e-cigarette users who never previously smoked is clearly the major strength of the study.

“It is reassuring to know that long term use with e-cigarettes is unlikely to cause any significant health concerns,” said Professor Polosa.

Why is this study so important?

This study is very important for several reasons

  1. It is the longest study to date on vaping. There are legitimate concerns about possible long-term effects of vaping. This study found no effects from vaping for up to 4 years.
  2. Other studies have been in smokers who switch from smoking to vaping. In these studies, it can be hard to disentangle the effects of smoking and vaping. This study focussed only on vapers who had never previously smoked.
  3. The study was in humans. Sensational headlines are often reported on findings from animal and cell studies which are of uncertain relevance to humans. Testing methods are often unrealistic and do not reflect real-world vaping conditions by vapers
  4. The study was consistent with other studies which showed improvement in lung function, asthma, emphysema (COPD), blood pressure etc in smokers who have switched to vaping.

Resources

Polosa R. Health impact of E-cigarettes - a prospective 3.5 year study of regular daily users who have never smoked. Sci Rpt 2017

Huffington Post report. Science: No Negative Respiratory Impact from E-Cigarettes on Never Smokers. 22 November 2017

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