E-cigarettes linked to lung problems, first long-term study on vaping finds.
The first study on the long-term health effects of electronic cigarettes finds that the devices are linked to an increased risk of chronic lung diseases, according to research published Monday in theÂ American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
The findings are expected to confound theories that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative for long-time adult users of tobacco.
The study included 32,000 adults in the U.S. None had any signs of lung disease when the study began in 2013.
By 2016, investigators found people who used e-cigarettes were 30 percent more likely to have developed a chronic lung disease, including asthma, bronchitis and emphysema, than nonusers.
“E-cigarette use predicted the development of lung disease over a very short period of time. It only took three years,” said the study’s author, Stanton Glantz, of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education of the University of California, San Francisco.
While the study’s focus was on people who vaped nicotine, it’s possible some may have also vaped THC products, Glantz said.
Those who smoked regular, combustible cigarettes had a higher risk of developing chronic lung diseases than those who used only e-cigarettes. But the study also found many adult smokers who tried e-cigarettes ended up using both forms of tobacco.
“Most adults who use e-cigarettes continue to smoke,” Glantz told NBC News. “And if they do that, they get the risks of the smoking plus the risk of the e-cigarette.”
Combining regular and e-cigarettes more than tripled the risk for developing chronic lung diseases, the study found.
The research adds to a growing body of evidence that vaping can cause physical harm, whether it’sÂ chemical burnsÂ to lung tissue,Â toxic metalsÂ that leave lasting scars on lungs,Â vitamin E oilÂ that clogs lungs or evenÂ overheated batteries that explode.