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E-Cigarettes Linked to Development of COPD

Allison Inserro
Regular use of electronic cigarettes is associated with increased odds of having chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a study presented at a recent medical conference.
Regular use of electronic cigarettes is associated with increased odds of having chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a study presented at a recent medical conference.

Electronic cigarette use is rising in the United States, alarming public health officials. Other studies have shown links between electronic cigarettes and asthma in youths, and in vitro and animal studies have shown an inflammatory response to electronic cigarettes similar that observed with conventional cigarettes.

The latest study, shown in a poster session at the American Thoracic Society 2018 International Conference, examined the association between electronic cigarettes and COPD in adults.

The study included 32,247 adults from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study, a national longitudinal study of tobacco use undertaken by the FDA and the National Institutes of Health. Of that pool, 1575 adults met the criteria for electronic cigarette use.

Electronic cigarette use was defined as using the device every day or some days. The prevalence of COPD was defined as having either emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or COPD.

Propensity score matching was used to balance potential confounders (eg, use of other tobacco products or secondhand smoke) between the electronic cigarettes and nonelectronic cigarette users. The propensity-matched group was composed of 1321 electronic cigarette users and 1321 nonelectronic cigarette users.

The prevalence of COPD among electronic cigarette users was 4.45% (95% CI, 3.70%-5.19%).

Electronic cigarette users were more likely to have COPD (odds ratio [OR], 1.86; 95% CI, 1.22-2.83).

The results showed that fairly regular use of electronic cigarettes every day or some days is associated with increased odds of having COPD, even after adjusting for potential confounding factors.

The researchers said it is unknown whether electronic cigarettes could contribute to COPD development or if people who have COPD are more likely to use electronic cigarettes (possibly as a harm reduction method).

Reference

Perez MF, Atuegwu N, Mead E, Oncken C, Mortensen EM. E-cigarette use is associated with emphysema, chronic bronchitis and COPD. Poster presentation at: American Thoracic Society 2018 International Conference; May 18-23, 2018; San Diego, CA. Poster 402.

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