First long-term study finds e-cigarettes significantly increase the risk of chronic lung disease

Researchers are reporting that the use of e-cigarettes significantly increases a person’s risk of developing chronic lung diseases like asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The finding represents the first long-term study that links e-cigarettes to respiratory illness in a sample representative of the entire U.S. adult population.

The study also found that people who used e-cigarettes and also smoked tobacco -- by far the most common pattern among adult e-cigarette users -- were at an even higher risk of developing chronic lung disease than those who used either product alone.

The findings were published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and are based on an analysis of publicly available data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH), which tracked e-cigarette and tobacco habits as well as new lung disease diagnoses in over 32,000 American adults from 2013 to 2016. The study is funded in part by the NHLBI.