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E-Cigarette Use Tied to Respiratory Symptoms in Young Adults

Findings independent of combustible cannabis and cigarette exposures

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 18, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Electronic cigarette use in young adults is associated with self-reported respiratory symptoms, according to a study published online Aug. 15 in Thorax.

Alayna P. Tackett, Ph.D., from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, and colleagues evaluated associations between e-cigarette use and symptoms of wheeze, bronchitic symptoms, and shortness of breath. The analysis included prospectively collected data from online surveys (wave 1 in 2014: 2,094 individuals; mean age 17.3 years; wave 2 in 2015: 1,609 individuals; wave 3 in 2017: 1,502 individuals; and wave 4 in 2018: 1,637 individuals).

The researchers found that compared with never users of e-cigarettes, past 30-day e-cigarette users reported increased odds of wheeze, bronchitic symptoms, and shortness of breath when adjusting for study wave, age, sex, race, lifetime asthma diagnosis, and parental education. When further adjusting for current cigarette use, cannabis use, and secondhand exposure to e-cigarettes/cigarettes/cannabis, effect estimates were attenuated, but all except wheeze were still significant.

“This study contributes to emerging evidence from human and toxicological studies that e-cigarettes cause respiratory symptoms that warrant consideration in regulation of e-cigarettes,” the authors write. “It suggests that regulatory assessments of the population health cost underestimate the effects of late adolescent and young adult e-cigarette, cannabis, and tobacco product use.”

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