June 20, 2024

E-Cigarette Use Linked to Early Onset of Asthma in US Adults: UTHealth Houston Study

New research published in JAMA Network Open on May 17, 2024, by UTHealth Houston researchers reveals a substantial association between e-cigarette use and an earlier age of asthma onset in US adults.

The study, led by first author Adriana Pérez, Ph.D., MS, professor of biostatistics and data science at UTHealth School of Public Health, discovered that adults who did not have asthma at the study’s start and reported using e-cigarettes within the past 30 days experienced a 252% increased risk of developing asthma at an earlier age.

Previous research has shown that e-cigarette use can increase the likelihood of asthma, but this study is the first to examine the relationship between marijuana e-cigarette use and the age of asthma onset. According to Pérez, who is also affiliated with the Michael and Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at the School of Public Health, this information could potentially motivate individuals to avoid starting e-cigarette use or encourage those currently using to quit.

The research team analyzed secondary data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study, a national longitudinal study that investigates the impact of tobacco use on the health of adults and youths in the United States.

The study’s findings emphasize the importance of further research, particularly concerning the impact of e-cigarette use on youth and its connection to early age of asthma onset and other respiratory conditions, Pérez explained.

Additionally, the study underscores the significance of modifying screening guidelines to account for recent e-cigarette use, which could potentially lead to earlier detection and treatment of asthma, thereby reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with the disease.

Pérez stated that the study underscores the importance of addressing the health burden of asthma, which results in approximately $300 billion in annual losses due to missed school or workdays, mortality, and medical costs according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tobacco regulations, prevention, intervention campaigns, and cessation programs are necessary to prevent early age of asthma onset due to e-cigarette use, the authors concluded.

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