Vaping identified as risk factor for asthma

Expert Name
Prof. Theresa To
Expert Affiliation
The Hospital for Sick Children, ON, Canada
ATS 2021
Conference Date

An analysis of Canadian survey data found an association between e-cigarette smoking and asthma. Not only did vaping increase the odds for asthma by 19%; those who had asthma were also more prone to exacerbation.

Every 2 years, the Canadian Community Health Survey gathers health-related data of Canadian inhabitants at the regional level. The 2019 survey in Ontario reported 23% of >14,000 adolescents in student grades 7–12 as e-cigarette (EC) smokers, a marked rise from the previous survey. “Our study asks the following questions: do EC users have an increased risk of asthma, and if so, do they incur higher odds of an asthma attack,” Prof. Theresa To (The Hospital for Sick Children, ON, Canada) explained [1]. The new cross-sectional study was based on data from individuals aged ≥12 years partaking in 2 cycles of the Canadian Community Health Survey dated 2015/2016 and 2017/2018 [2]. For the case-control design, cases were defined as those self-reporting EC smoking within the last 30 days. To each case, 5 non-vaping controls were matched by age, sex, BMI, smoking, and socioeconomic status, employing a propensity score. The latter is a common statistic technique to reduce bias due to confounding variables in observational studies.

Together, the study included 17,190 matched subjects of whom 3.1% met the criteria of EC users. Hence, 1 in 32 participants smoked EC within the last 30 days. The logistic regression that controlled for potential confounders associated with asthma, including the variables utilised for the propensity score, identified 19% elevated odds of asthma in EC-using persons. Moreover, EC-vaping individuals with asthma had a 24% higher likelihood of having experienced an asthma attack in the last year. Interestingly, 50% of EC users also smoked cigarettes on a daily basis, whereas only 15% in the group not using EC did. “Of the EC users, about 15% reported fair to poor mental health compared with 7% amongst non-user,” Prof. To further elaborated. “These findings suggest that EC use is a modifiable risk factor for asthma to be considered in the primary care of youths and adults,” concluded Prof. To.

  1. To T, et al. Does Vaping Increase the Odds of Asthma? A Canadian Community Health Survey Study. Session TP16: Clinical and research updates on tobacco cessation, vaping, and e-cigarettes. ATS 2021 International Conference, 14-19 May.
  2. Mehra VM, et al. BMC Public Health 2019;19(1):1208.

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