New study finds strong causal link between vaping and lung disease

MONTREAL — Vaping significantly increases the risk of suffering from chronic lung disease such as asthma, emphysema, bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a new American study warns.

The highest risk was found among those who use both electronic cigarettes and traditional cigarettes, an apparently common practice, the study found.

Researchers at the University of California at San Francisco say theirs is the first longitudinal study to associate vaping with respiratory illnesses, and that their work provides the strongest evidence to date of a causal link between electronic cigarettes and lung disease.

The researchers say they drew their conclusions from an analysis of the smoking habits of more than 32,000 American adults between 2013 and 2016, with none having reported suffering from lung disease at the start of the study.

They discovered that electronic cigarette users were 1.3 times more likely to have chronic lung disease than non-smokers, while traditional smokers were 2.6 times more likely to suffer from chronic lung disease. Users of both products were three times as likely to have lung disease.

The authors of the study found that transitioning from traditional to electronic cigarettes lowered the risk of lung disease, but fewer than one per cent of traditional smokers in the study completed the transition, with the vast majority simply adding e-cigarettes to their arsenal, which increases the risk of lung disease.

The researchers point out that the results of their study have nothing to do with the mysterious lung disease that has sickened or killed hundreds of electronic cigarette users in recent months.

The findings of the study are published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 17, 2019.

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