A recent study found that young vapers are at increased risk of bronchitis symptoms and shortness of breath. The researchers defined bronchitis symptoms as a daily cough for three consecutive months, a bronchitis diagnosis in the previous 12 months, and congestion or phlegm without a cold. This study explored the potential impact of concurrent cigarette and cannabis use on respiratory health. Previous studies have reported respiratory symptoms among teen and young adult vapers, but they mainly focused on e-cigarette use. This study published in Thorax contributed valuable insights into the potential impact of concurrent cigarette and/or cannabis use on respiratory health.
Vaping products are available in various forms, strengths, and flavors, and the type of product may have influenced the respiratory effects reported by participants. The study tracked the respiratory health of participants surveyed in the Southern California Children’s Health Study between 2014 and 2018. In 2014, 2,097 participants completed a survey on everyday and past 30-day use of e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes. 1,609 participants answered survey questions during the second wave in 2015. 1,502 participants reported data in 2017 (third wave), and 1,637 participants in 2018 (fourth wave). Bronchitis symptoms were the most commonly reported at each wave: 19.5%, 22.5%, 23.5%, and 26%, respectively. Data analysis revealed that past 30-day e-cigarette use was slightly under 12% at waves 1 and 2 and 11% at wave 3, but the prevalence increased to more than 15.5% at wave 4.
The likelihood of wheezing increased by 81% among past 30-day e-cigarette users than among newer users. Bronchitic symptoms were twice as likely, and shortness of breath was 78% more likely for frequent, long-term vapers.
The findings emphasize the importance of increased regulatory oversight of vaping products. The researchers believe that regulatory assessments of the population health cost underestimate the effects of late adolescent and young adult e-cigarette, cannabis, and tobacco product use.