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Adding Vaping to Smoking Brings Even Worse Respiratory Effects

TUESDAY, April 27, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- So, you're trying desperately to quit smoking, using e-cigarettes while still using traditional cigarettes. Sound like a good idea?

Maybe not, according to a new study that shows that combining vaping with smoking raises the risk for respiratory wheeze and cough.

"To help people quit smoking, FDA-approved medications, such as the nicotine patch or the medication varenicline [brand name Chantix], are preferred," said study author Dr. Krishna Reddy. He's an investigator in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine and the Tobacco Research and Treatment Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston.

On the other hand, "people who vape e-cigarettes in an effort to stop smoking tobacco cigarettes should be cautioned against using both and instead should switch over completely from smoking to vaping, with an ultimate goal of stopping vaping as well," Reddy said in a hospital news release.

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from nearly 21,000 Americans, aged 12 and older, who took part in a national survey and had no respiratory symptoms when first surveyed in 2015 to 2016.

When surveyed again about a year later, respiratory symptoms were reported by nearly 11% of those who did not use e-cigarettes or tobacco cigarettes, nearly 12% of those who used e-cigarettes only, 17% of those who used tobacco cigarettes only, and nearly 20% of those who used both e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes.

The researchers found that dual users were nearly twice as likely to develop respiratory symptoms as exclusive e-cigarette users and just over 1.2 times more likely to have symptoms than exclusive tobacco smokers.

The risk of new respiratory symptoms among people who used e-cigarettes only was not significantly higher than the risk among those who didn't vape or smoke, according to the study published recently in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

According to study senior author Dr. Nancy Rigotti, director of the Tobacco Research and Treatment Center, "This study helps identify how e-cigarettes can best be used to reduce the harms caused by smoking cigarettes. Exclusive e-cigarette use did not increase the risk of new respiratory symptoms while using both products (e-cigarettes and cigarettes) did."

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on wheezing.

SOURCE: Massachusetts General Hospital, news release, April 22, 2021

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