For the first time, we have a study examining the effect of vaping on the lungs over the long term. The result? No negative impact on the lungs over a period of several years. Most vapers are former smokers and can be expected to have lung damage. To get around this problem, the researchers decided to look for vapers who have never smoked.
To complete the study, the study followed vapers as well as a group of never-smokers for three and a half years. Their health was measured based on a range of factors including lung function, respiratory symptoms, carbon monoxide, exhalation, and high-resolution lung typography.
It was a small study with 9 vapers until the study was completed in just three and a half years. But the implications are enormous. For the first time, we have long-term data showing that vaping does not harm the lungs. The popcorn lung juul is one of the reasons for this.
Vaping, health and lungs
The study findings relate to the lungs, but you also looked at the subjects’ blood pressure, heart rate, and body weight. Is it possible, from these data, to draw more general conclusions about the effect of vaping on health?
The respiratory system is the main target of any potential harmful effects from chronic exposure. Therefore, any search for early health changes compared to long-term e-cigarette use would make more sense in the lungs than in the cardiovascular system.
That is why we have focused on the findings regarding the lungs. Regardless, not a single vaper had any negative effects on blood pressure or heart rate throughout the study.
This may be a small study, but the data from different lung studies, including yours, is starting to add up. How do the studies combined paint a picture, and how confident can smokers be that vaping is significantly better for the lungs than smoking?
Data from cohorts of smokers with chronic respiratory diseases (including asthma and COPD) switching to vaping is amply reassuring. They indicate that replacing conventional cigarettes with electronic cigarettes is unlikely to raise significant health concerns and appear to indicate clinical benefits.
Studies of smokers with pre-existing respiratory disease switching to electronic cigarettes are a good clinical model to prove harm reversal. But they do not provide any information on the potential absolute risk of vaping due to the harm from smoking.
The strength of our study was to study the effect of vaping on lung health in regular users of electronic cigarettes who have never smoked in their life. Since the aerosol emissions of electronic cigarettes are much less harmful than tobacco smoke, it is no exaggeration to say that vaping is significantly better for the lungs than smoking.
Electronic cigarettes and “popcorn lung” disease
You mentioned that e-liquid flavors often contain high levels of diacetyl. Many vendors have since phased out diacetyl from e-liquids , although we still find it every now and then when we are testing e-liquids.
Did you know if any of your subjects’ e-liquids contained diacetyl, and how concerned are you about the presence of diacetyl in the e-liquid?
We don’t have that information, but even if the e-liquids contained diacetyl, we wouldn’t be very worried. It takes very high levels and long hours of exposure to diacetyl to cause “popcorn lung” disease. We know that this only happens in certain professional circles . Moreover, it was never reported in the newspapers, despite the widespread use of electronic cigarettes around the world.