Professor Riccardo Polosa and his team from the University of Catania prove that long-term daily vaping is not likely to cause lung disease.
Vaping has been a matter of high interest among researchers in recent years. Finally, we have gained some insight into the long-term effects of vaping, and the results are encouraging.
Professor Polosa, the Director of the Institute of Internal Medicine and Anti Smoking Center at the University of Catania, Italy, led a study that observed the health of vapers and non-smokers over the period of three and a half years.
The research team monitored a number of health outcomes, including blood pressure, heart rate, body weight, lung function, respiratory symptoms, exhaled breath nitric oxide, exhaled carbon monoxide, and high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) of the lungs. This observational study compared the parameters in nine regular daily vapers with the control group of twelve non-vapers. It’s important to note both groups were non-smokers.
The results state that there were no significant changes in the baseline or between vapers and non-vapers in any of the above-stated outcomes. In addition, there were no pathological findings in HCRT scans of the subjects who used e-cigarettes daily over the entire 3,5-year period. The research also didn’t identify any consistent respiratory symptoms in the vaper group.
The study published in Scientific Reports further states that “Although it cannot be excluded that some harm may occur at later stages, this study did not demonstrate any health concerns associated with long-term use of EC in relatively young users who did not also smoke tobacco.”
Another thing to consider is the small sample size that only included young adults, with the average age being 29,7 years. Nonetheless, these preliminary results are certainly a step in the right direction and a strong basis for further research.
It’s especially encouraging to know that even heavy vapers did not exhibit any signs of lung damage, inflammation, or changes in blood pressure and heart rate.
In the light of strong anti-vaping campaigns, Professor Polosa’s study is a breath of fresh air, debunking the myth that e-cigarettes are detrimental to lung health.
Another myth debunked by the researchers is the one linking the use of e-cigarettes with arterial stiffness and the momentary increase in vital signs. Professor Peter Hajek, the Director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at the Queen Mary University of London, stated that other things such as caffeine and other types of stimuli can have the same effects. In fact, the effects of caffeine are even longer-lasting than those of nicotine from e-cigarettes, and both are irrelevant as health risks.
While Polosa’s team emphasizes that further studies with larger samples are required, they find that “the results of this study may provide some preliminary evidence that long-term use of ECs is unlikely to raise significant health concerns in relatively young users.”
The verdict: long-term vaping is unlikely to cause lung damage or pose significant health risks.
However, until we have more encouraging results like these, we should proceed with caution. Keep in mind that the study excluded smokers, so for those combining e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes, the same rules may not apply.
While the effects of smoking are proven to be detrimental to health, there are still many unknowns related to vaping. For example, scientists are unsure if vaping can aggravate existing respiratory conditions such as asthma.
Also, vaping illicit THC products has been linked with EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury). Furthermore, some ingredients found in e-liquid flavorings may have adverse effects. It’s important to purchase e-cigarettes, e-liquids, and other equipment from verified sources and take all necessary precautions regarding their proper use.