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Secondhand Vape Exposure Linked to Respiratory Symptoms

Young adults with secondhand vape exposure have increased odds of bronchitic symptoms, shortness of breath

FRIDAY, Jan. 14, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Secondhand nicotine vape exposure at home is associated with increased odds of bronchitic symptoms and shortness of breath among young adults, according to a study published online Jan. 10 in Thorax.

Talat Islam, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined the effect of secondhand nicotine vape exposure on annually reported wheeze, bronchitic symptoms, and shortness of breath in a cohort of 2,097 participants from the prospective Southern California Children Health Study with repeated annual surveys from 2014 (average age, 17.3 years) to 2019 (average age, 21.9 years).

The researchers found that during the study period, the prevalence of secondhand nicotine vape increased from 11.7 to 15.6 percent in this population. During the study period, the prevalence of wheeze, bronchitic symptoms, and shortness of breath ranged from 12.3 to 14.9 percent, 19.4 to 26.0 percent, and 16.5 to 18.1 percent, respectively. After adjustment for vaping, active and passive exposure to tobacco or cannabis, and demographic characteristics (age, gender, race/ethnicity, and parental education), associations of secondhand nicotine vape exposure with bronchitic symptoms and shortness of breath were observed (odds ratios, 1.40 and 1.53, respectively). When the analysis was restricted to participants who were neither smokers nor vapers, the associations were stronger.

“While association is not causation, this study is the first to describe the negative effects of secondhand nicotine vaping exposure on respiratory symptoms,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial. “More work needs to be done to prove that this exposure directly causes harm.”

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