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Some cigarette smokers who are trying to quit, transition to vaping, which could have significantly less or no levels of nicotine. Although other vapers are healthy non-smokers, there is still an increased risk of developing a respiratory condition.

The study by Boston University recently published in the journal JAMA Network Open tracked adults who were long-term vapers. Results showed that although they did not smoke tobacco products, e-cigarette users have an increased risk of developing a respiratory disease.

E-cigarettes have increased in popularity, typically advertised as harmful compared to cigarettes. However, there has also been piling evidence that vaping can still result in harming health.

Risk of Respiratory Illnesses

The researchers gathered information from 21,618 adults from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study. They were asked a series of questions about their former and current use of e-cigarettes, rated their current health and medical history, and if they have been previously diagnosed with a respiratory illness.

Results showed that former e-cigarette user has a 21% chance of developing a respiratory illness while current users had a 43% increased risk. Understanding these risks, wrote the authors, are "critical for informing state and federal regulatory standards for product safety."

Data from the PATH study is also the largest, long-term analysis of how vaping affects the respiratory system for those who are healthy. Most previous research typically uses animal or cell models. Human clinical studies usually include those who have already developed acute conditions. The researchers also made sure that the participants were solely vapers or former users and did not switch from cigarette smoking or other tobacco products such as cigars or hookah.

The study is among the "the very first longitudinal" evidence of how harmful vaping can be, said Professor Dr. Andrew Stokes. In the past few years, there has been a dramatic increase in vape use among young adults and minors "which threatens to reverse decades of hard-fought gains."

Read Also: Vape Causes Characteristic Lung Injury Patterns on CT Scans

International Classification of Diseases Codes

Some of the main outcomes of vaping, the researchers determined, included chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. E-cigarettes are also known to have other harmful ingredients such as heavy metals and volatile organic compounds that could result in damaging the immune system.

The researchers wrote in the study that "outcomes associated with e-cigarette use may vary according to specific respiratory conditions." For example, asthma often develops during childhood while COPD typically develops in adulthood. How e-cigarette use is linked to each specific respiratory condition needs further investigation.

Dr. Hasmeena Kathuria concluded that more and more studies are revealing the health risks associated with vaping. Results highlight how critical it is to standardize e-cigarette product use in electronic health records. Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should develop "International Classification of Diseases codes for e-cigarette product use so that providers can facilitate cessation discussions and identify adverse events related to e-cigarette use," Kathuria suggest.

Read Also: Possibility of Link Between Vaping and COVID-19? Doctors Discuss It 

Check out more news and information on Vaping on Science Times.