As an alternative to traditional cigarettes vaping is often seen, especially for those with lung conditions such as COPD, as it is thought to be less harmful. There is, however, the insufficient research available on the effects of vaping for people with COPD.
COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is caused primarily by the exposure to cigarette smoke. The condition affects approximately thirty million people in the US.
Read on to learn more about vaping & COPD, & discover how to quit smoking without using E-cigarettes.
Does Vaping cause COPD?
As an alternative to traditional cigarettes, people often use e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes are relatively new & the research on their effects, especially the potential long-term effects, is limited.
Vaping products usually contain nicotine, a highly addictive drug, although they do not involve the tobacco smoke inhalation. Some vaping products may also contain:
- cancer-causing substances or carcinogens
- toxic chemicals
- toxic metal nanoparticles
The U.S. Drug & Food Administration require warnings on vaping products that contain nicotine & tobacco from 2018 onward.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) suggest that vaping is less harmful than smoking conventional cigarettes. But the CDC advises against e-cigarette use by young people, those who are pregnant, or adults who do not currently use tobacco.
The research on Vaping & COPD
There is only limited research that has looked at vaping & COPD.
Vaping & Lung inflammation
A small study published in 2016, reports that nicotine-containing vaping products trigger lung inflammation & lung tissue damage. COPD development is associated with these effects. Both cultured human lung cells & mice used in the study showed dependency on nicotine over the course of the research.
Vaping & Oxidative Stress
A 2017 study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine, also reports negative findings. The study included 44 participants, a mixture of conventional cigarette smokers, e-cigarette users, & non-smokers.
Researchers discovered the proteins in the airways of e-cigarette smokers that are known to contribute to COPD. All smokers in the study showed markers of the oxidative stress associated with lung disease.
Vaping & DNA damage
Research published in January 2018 found that mice exposed to e-cigarette vapor displayed DNA damage in the bladder, lungs, & heart. This damage may increase their risk of heart disease, cancer, & lung problems.
The researchers added that it was possible that e-cigarette smoke may contribute to the similar damage in humans.
Overall Research Consensus on Vaping
More research is needed on the health risks of vaping, especially in relation to COPD & other lung diseases. It may be best to adhere to the advice of the Lung Institute until then, which does not recommend the vaping for anyone, especially for people with COPD or other lung diseases.
The institute says that once a person develops a lung disease, such as emphysema, COPD, or interstitial lung disease, they should not inhale anything other than clean air.
COPD may cause tightness in the chest & wheezing.
COPD symptoms may not appear until the lungs have experienced the significant damage. Symptoms typically get worse over time, especially if people continue to the smoke.
- Chest tightness
- A Cough
- Sputum or Mucus that may be clear, green, white, or yellow
- Respiratory infections
- Shortness of breath (SOB)
Symptoms in later stages include:
- Fingernail beds or Blue lips, known as cyanosis
- Swelling in the ankles, feet, or legs
- Weight loss
Breathing problems eventually make everyday tasks more difficult. They can be disabling in some cases.