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Study examines the age of asthma onset related to e-cigarette use

May 29, 2024
New information indicates that age of asthma onset is earlier in adults who use e-cigarettes or vapes.
Sara Joyce, Managing Editor

Researchers at UTHealth Houston have found a significant link between electronic cigarette use and earlier onset of asthma in US adults, as reported in JAMA Network Open.

The cohort study, led by Adriana Pérez, PhD, is the first to examine the age of asthma onset in relation to e-cigarette use. It followed a nationally representative sample starting with 32,320 adults and 13,651 youths in 2013-2014, adding new cohorts and youths to address attrition. Data was collected in multiple waves up to 2021, with adults surveyed every two years and youths annually.

The key takeaway from the study was that adults who used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days had a 252% increased risk of developing asthma at an earlier age. The finding did not hold for the youths in the study.

This new information emphasizes the need for further research, especially on the impact of e-cigarettes on youth, and highlights the importance of updating screening guidelines to include recent e-cigarette use for earlier asthma detection. The study also stresses the economic burden of asthma and calls for enhanced tobacco regulation, emphasis on prevention, and more cessation programs to mitigate these risks.

In a press release from UT Health Houston, study coauthor Pushan P. Jani, MD, MSc, said “There is a lot we have yet to learn, but what we do know is that the use of nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, poses serious health risks, and those need to be addressed with more proactive measures.”

Future research by Pérez's team may explore the connection between e-cigarette use and the early onset of cancer. The study was funded by the NIH and the FDA Center for Tobacco Products.

Editor's note: This article originally appeared in DE Weekend, the newsletter that will elevate your Sunday mornings with practical and innovative practice management and clinical content from experts across the field. Subscribe here.

About the Author

Sara Joyce | Managing Editor

Sara Joyce is the managing editor of RDH and Dental Economics magazines and comprehensive oral health-care website, DentistryIQ. She has a BA in linguistics and an undying love for the Oxford comma. Contact Sara at [email protected]

Updated February 27, 2024