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E-cigarettes seriously increase the risk of chronic lung and respiratory diseases," argues scientists from the University of California in San Francisco. In a paper in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, they publish the results of the latest research showing that e-cigarettes increase the risk of both asthma and bronchitis, emphysema and finally chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Additionally, it is worrying that this risk increases even more in those who use e-cigarettes alternately with regular ones, as if the harmful effects of both were accumulating.
The relationship between e-cigarette smoking and lung disease has already been demonstrated by previous studies, but it was not clear what the cause and effect relationship is here. It could not be demonstrated whether e-cigarettes actually increase the risk, or whether they are more frequently used by people who already have lung problems. Recent reports, based on analysis of data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) database, include information on cigarette and e-cigarette use and lung disease diagnoses in 32,000 adult Americans between 2013 and 2016.
The analysis of data from recent studies shows that e-cigarettes increase the risk of both asthma and bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. E-cigarettes alone increase this risk by more than 30 percent, ordinary cigarettes by more than 2.5 times, and smoking both - more than three times. Importantly, at the beginning of the study, the participants did not report any lung problems. These problems appeared in some of them during three years of observation.
We have found that in people who only use e-cigarettes, the risk of lung disease increased by about a third at that time - says co-author, Prof. Stanton Glantz, head of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. E-cigarettes pose a risk regardless of the history of regular cigarette smoking," he adds. In the largest group of those who use e-cigarettes and normal cigarettes, we notice an accumulation of risks associated with smoking and e-cigarettes," stresses Glantz. This means that these people harm themselves more than if they only smoked regular cigarettes," he concludes.
The new information is important for the ongoing debate on the relevance of promoting e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to smoking. It turns out that while a complete switchover to e-cigarettes can have a positive impact on health, combining the two, in fact increases the risk. Meanwhile, US data indicate that less than a percentage of smokers are switching to e-cigarettes. The vast majority of smokers simply add e-cigarettes and significantly increase the risk of lung disease," says Glantz. Our work brings new arguments to the argument that e-cigarettes have a harmful effect on health in the long run and, overall, makes the tobacco problem even more serious," he notes.
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