The short answer is “yes.” There are several studies that definitively show that vaping makes asthma worse. The method of delivery makes very little difference in terms of the toxins you inhale or the damage done to your lungs. The only valid argument for vaping as a healthier option is the fact that they enable the user to gradually decrease nicotine concentration. This can be helpful in addiction recovery. In fact, zero nicotine vaping liquid does exist to allow smokers to go through the motions of their habit without a nicotine dose as a final step in their recovery.
The Science Behind Vaping
Outside of addiction recovery, vaping is just as dangerous as conventional cigarettes with the added risk of being under-researched. Since their introduction to the mass market, scientists are rushing to conduct studies evaluating the effects of vapes/e-cigarettes. Unfortunately, it could be decades before the lifelong effects of their use are clear.
In the meantime, there are a plethora of short-term studies attempting to distinguish the effects of vaping from those of conventional cigarettes. Currently, these studies are focusing on testing the effects of different components of vaping liquids. Flavors are a primary concern, as most of these components were not tested with inhalation in mind. So far, research indicates that their concern is not unfounded.
For example, a 2017 study published in Respiratory Research found that asthmatic subjects who took part in a 1-h acute vaping session using non-flavored vaping liquid made with a contaminant-free mixture showed no increase in adverse effects in a controlled environment. However, a study published in Respirology the same year found that flavored vapes did result in increased asthma symptoms in their experimental sessions, which employed standardized settings to replicate typical usage. The Asthma Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand suggests that the distinction is likely to come from the fact that vaping liquids currently use more than 7000 food products to produce their flavors, none of which have ever been tested for inhalation.
Due to the lack of regulation and the need for further studies, medical professionals have come to a general consensus against vaping unless it is being used as a method of addiction recovery. It is true that some studies, in highly controlled settings, show no increase in symptoms. However, the lack of heavy regulation in the vaping market makes it difficult to control what you are actually inhaling. The safest bet for anyone is to avoid it entirely. At least until scientists publish long-term research and more carefully regulate the industry. Knowing that vaping makes asthma worse may prompt you to look at your asthma management.
Managing Your Asthma
If you smoke, you are at a higher risk of developing asthma over your lifetime. If you’ve experienced any of the following then you need to schedule an appointment with your NYC pulmonologist:
- Shortness of breath
- Consistent coughing
- Chest pain
- Difficulty speaking
- Blue lips/pale face
Asthma Treatment NYC
Dr. Shukla will be able to assess your symptoms to help you identify whether or not you have developed asthma. Once diagnosed, Dr. Shukla can help talk you through asthma treatment options to aid you in controlling your day-to-day symptoms as well as any more severe attacks. Anti-inflammatory drugs and bronchodilators are sufficient for most cases. However, if you have severe symptoms, then Dr. Shukla may prescribe prednisone, an oral corticosteroid to help gain initial control before transferring you to another medication.
For smokers presenting with asthma, quitting is your fastest path back to health. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides a comprehensive guide to help you take the first steps towards a healthier future. Knowing that vaping makes asthma worse, now you can take steps to improve your lung health.