A man uses a Juul vaporizer on September 26, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Eliza Novels | reuters

Young people are at risk of experiencing significant respiratory symptoms, including bronchitis and shortness of breath, after only 30 days electronic cigarette Use, according to a new study released Tuesday.

researchers of Tobacco Research Center The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and Southern California Keck School of Medicine used four years’ worth of data from online surveys to investigate. health effects Of e cigarette – that make vaporizers nicotine and other harmful substances – on teenagers and young adults.

He said the study, partially funded by the National Institutes of Health, contributes to existing evidence that e-cigarette use is associated with an increased risk of respiratory symptoms. The researchers said drug regulators should consider the findings and work to reduce the negative health effects of e-cigarette use on young people.

E-cigarettes have addicted a new generation to nicotine in less than a decade, putting the health of millions of children, teens and young adults at risk, while threatening years of progress in reducing youth tobacco use I have fallen in

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, e-cigarette use is now significantly higher among youth and young adults than among adults in the US overall. E-cigarette sales increased by nearly 50% during the first two years of the COVID pandemic, driven primarily by sweet and fruit-flavored disposable products that have long been popular among teens.

This jump in sales came despite federal action that placed more restrictions on the marketing of tobacco products and flavors.

Manufacturers still flood the market with thousands of drug products that are often sold illegally. Brands such as Puff Bar, Elf Bar and Breeze Smoke are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and some have surpassed vaping pioneer Juul in popularity.

“An important point for consumers to make is that e-cigarettes are not risk-free,” said Alaina Tackett, MD, a pediatrician and researcher at the Center for Tobacco Research. “We certainly want to eliminate the introduction and use of e-cigarettes among young people. I think that’s an important public health goal.”

He noted that the study only examined adolescents and young adults, and that across all adult demographics, people “often turn to using e-cigarettes with less risk than using cigarettes.”

Tackett said, “I think we need to be thoughtful about policies to protect those young people, as well as support adults who are interested in choosing potentially less harmful alternatives to cigarettes.” ”

What does the data say?

Researchers followed more than 2,000 youth with an average age of 17.3 years from the Southern California Child Health Study.

In 2014, they asked participants to complete an online survey about their respiratory symptoms and use of e-cigarettes, traditional cigarettes, and cannabis. About 23% of participants reported a history of asthma at the time of the initial survey.

The researchers collected follow-up data from most of the participants during three additional survey waves in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

Participants were specifically asked whether they had ever used each of the three products. If they indicated yes, they were asked how many days in the previous 30-day period they had used the product.

Those who had never tried a product were classified as “never users”, while participants who had used a product at least one day out of the past 30 days were classified as “past 30-day users”. were classified as users of “.

Past 30-day e-cigarette users were 81% more likely to experience wheezing than never-users after taking into account survey wave, age, gender, race, and parent’s education . Wheezing was defined as wheezing or whistling in the chest over the past 12 months.

Users in the past 30 days had a 78% higher risk of experiencing shortness of breath and a 50% higher risk of experiencing symptoms of bronchitis, an infection of the main airways of the lungs that causes irritation and inflammation in them.

A saleswoman helps a customer as she purchases electronic cigarettes at a Vaper Shark store in Miami.

Joe Radle | Getty Images

The association between e-cigarette use and respiratory symptoms was slightly weaker when the researchers took into account two factors: co-use of e-cigarettes with traditional cigarettes or cannabis, and secondhand exposure to any of the three products.

For example, past 30-day e-cigarette users had a 41% higher risk of experiencing wheezing than never-before users if they also used traditional cigarettes or cannabis at the same time. Have had or experienced secondhand exposure to any product.

“When we controlled for co-use of cigarettes and cannabis, Whizz was no longer significantly associated with respiratory symptoms associated with e-cigarette use,” Tackett said. But he said the symptoms of bronchitis and shortness of breath remained significant.

The association between e-cigarette use and respiratory symptoms was persistent in a sub-analysis that did not include participants with a history of asthma. According to the study, this indicates that the negative health effects of e-cigarette use were present in all participants, not just those with asthma.

Tackett said there are some limitations to the study that future research could address.

According to Tackett, additional studies could more objectively measure respiratory symptoms and product use rather than using surveys that participants filled out themselves.

She added that future studies, including the one she is currently working on, could assess the “complex relationship” between e-cigarettes and traditional cigarette or cannabis use.

– CNBC Stephen Sykes contributed to this report.

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