New Study Shows that E-Cigarette Use Is an Independent Risk Factor for Respiratory Disease

March 11th 2020
M. May Zhang, PharmD Candidate

As vaping continues to grow in popularity, it becomes increasingly critical to correct misconceptions about its safety and long-term effects.

Use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), or vaping, has drastically increased in recent years, primarily among young adults. About 1 in 5 young adults use e-cigarettes regularly, and 1 in 4 believe that e-cigarettes are harmless and nonaddictive.1

E-cigarettes aerosolize nicotine mixed with flavoring and preservative agents. Though combustible tobacco products, such as cigarettes and cigars, are widely recognized as causes of respiratory disease, e-cigarettes are often promoted as safe alternatives. However, studies show that vaping leads to chronic pulmonary inflammation, tissue damage, oxidative stress, and mucus hypersecretion.

A December 2019 study published in theAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicineshows the first population-based, longitudinal analysis of the relationship between e-cigarettes and respiratory disease. The researchers used data from 32,320 participants in the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study, a national population-based study led by the NIH and FDA.2-3At baseline and over 2 years, researchers noted whether respondents had respiratory disease, used e-cigarettes, and/or used combustible tobacco products.

A number of subjects reported both respiratory disease and e-cigarette use at baseline. Even after controlling for confounding factors that included age, BMI, poverty level, and combustible tobacco smoking, there was a significant association between former or current e-cigarette use and the risk of respiratory disease.

Read the full article onPharmacy Times.

May Zhangis a 2022 PharmD Candidate at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.


  1. Tallent A. National Survey Reveals One in Five Young Adults Regularly Uses E-Cigarettes and Believes They are Harmless, Not Addictive. American Society of Clinical Oncology. Published September 26, 2019. Accessed January 10, 2020.
  2. Bhatta DN, Glantz SA. Association of E-Cigarette Use With Respiratory Disease Among Adults: A Longitudinal Analysis.Am J Prev Med. December 2019. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2019.07.028.
  3. Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) - Home. National Institutes of Health. Accessed January 10, 2020.

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