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Small Study Shows Improvement in Asthma Among Smokers Who Switch to E-Cigarettes

The results of a small study conducted by a team of Italian scientists led by Dr. Ricardo Polosa and published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, show asthma-suffering smokers who switch to electronic cigarettes experience improvements of their symptoms and general lung functions, even if they remain dual users (both smoke and use e-cigarettes).

vaperThe one-year-long study followed 18 smokers suffering from asthma who switched to electronic cigarettes. Measurements of spirometry data, airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR), asthma exacerbations and subjective asthma control were taken at baseline, at a 6-month follow up and at the one-year mark. During this time, of the 18 smoking asthmatics, 10 switched to electronic cigarettes completely, while 8 became dual users. Among the latter, the average consumption of tobacco cigarettes dropped from 22.4 to 3.9 cigarettes per day.

At the one year follow-up, a significant improvement in asthma symptoms and lung function, especially small airways obstruction. While the improvements in lung function were small, those in asthma symptoms were clinically relevant. One of the most important findings of this small study is that “consistent improvements in subjective and objective asthma outcomes were also observed amongst dual users (i.e., heavy reducers) with no real difference in dual compared to single users by the end of the observation period.” This suggests that dual use of both tobacco cigarettes and e-cigs might result in respiratory health improvements, if the reduction of analogs is significant, as it was among the dual users involved in the study.

“Overall there were significant improvements in spirometry data, asthma control and AHR,” Dr. Polosa and his team reported, adding that no adverse effects were noted. They conclude that “by substantially reducing number of cigarettes smoked per day and exposure to their hazardous toxicants, e-cigs may not only improve asthma symptoms and pulmonary function but may also confer an overall health advantage in smokers with asthma. Therefore, e-cig use in asthmatic smokers unable or unwilling to quit should be exploited as a safer alternative approach to harm-reversal (i.e., specific reversal of asthma-related outcomes) and, in general, to harm-reduction (i.e., overall reduction of smoke-related diseases).”

Although this is only a preliminary study conducted on a very small pool of smoking asthmatics, and will most likely be dismissed as anecdotal by anti-smoking/vaping activists, it does suggest that e-cigarettes could be a viable alternative for asthma-suffering smokers with no other means of quitting or at least cutting back on cigarettes dramatically. It also offers further proof that electronic cigarettes are a considerably safer alternative to smoking.

Photo source: Nicolas Nova

Source: MDPI via Tobacco Analysis

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