In what is being considered the first longitudinal analysis of the effect of vaping on the lungs and its connection to lung disease, a new study conducted over three years found an increased risk of lung disease in those who use vapes, or e-cigarettes.
The paper, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that those who vaped had a 1.3-times higher risk of developing respiratory disease than people who did not use any tobacco product. While, cigarette smokers had a 2.5-times higher risk, and those who both smoked and vaped had a 3.3-times higher risk.
The study followed 32,000 participants and found their risk for serious lung conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to be significant.
“We have concluded that e-cigarettes were harmful in themselves, with effects that are produced independently from conventional tobacco consumption,” one of the authors, Stanton Glatz, a professor of medicine and director of the University of California’s centre for tobacco research in San Francisco, told the Brussels Times.
This study does also show that while still a risky habit, e-cigarettes are not as dangerous as standard cigarettes. This is the premise most vape companies have sold their products on.
“Yes, vaping is associated with about 29% to 31% higher odds of subsequent lung disease within two to three years than not vaping—but compare this with the 156% higher odds of using combustible tobacco than not smoking,” Andy Tan – assistant professor of population sciences at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – told Time Magazine.
Research into vaping has helped reveal the risks associated with this practice, especially among young teenagers and adults who make up a significant amount of the products market. This year, companies in the U.S. have been given strict warnings on how they market their e-cigarettes so as not to make them enticing to children.