While governments all over the world are trying to bring in more and more regulations to control the use of e-cigarettes, it is important to bear in mind how many benefits they could provide, especially for some at-risk groups of smokers such as asthma sufferers. Smokers who suffer from asthma usually find that their habit exacerbates their condition, causing their lung function to decline more rapidly and the corticosteroid treatments to be less effective. When vaping is used as a substitute for smoking, it has long been believed to have the potential to help reduce the problems experienced by asthma sufferers and now a study has revealed that this is certainly the case.
Benefits of Switching to Vaping for Asthmatic Smokers
A study recently published in Discovery Medicine has proved positive links between switching to e-cigarettes and experiencing a reduction in asthma symptoms among smokers. Sufferers of asthma who smoke have exacerbated symptoms and poorer health as a result of their condition. Those who have smoked for over 20 pack years have even more serious symptoms and poorer control of the condition. The majority of studies have pointed to a faster decline in lung function as well as a more obstructed air flow, with asthmatic patients who are also smokers experiencing a reduced response to treatments compared to patients who are non-smokers.
While quitting the habit may reverse the impact of smoking tobacco on lung function and asthma symptoms, many smokers refuse to give up when given only the choice between smoking or giving up nicotine completely.
The recent research has investigated whether e-cigarettes could help asthmatic smokers to stop smoking as well as whether they could actually reverse the harm caused by smoking tobacco. 18 smokers who suffered from mild or moderate asthma and who had switched to smoking e-cigarettes were involved in the study which investigated any change in their respiratory function and overall health, with baseline measurements being taken at the outset and checked against the figures obtained after six, twelve and twenty four months.
This long term monitoring revealed consistent improvements in lung function and respiratory symptoms, not only in those who had completely switched over to e-cigarettes but also in dual users who vaped but also continued smoking too.
This evidence has shown that using electronic cigarettes may improve the outcomes for smokers with asthma over the long term and their use may even be helpful in reversing damage that has been caused by smoking tobacco in these patients. Stopping smoking is a essential step in the effective treatment of asthma patients, however quitting is never easy and in such cases, e-cigarettes are a less harmful option. They represent a valid solution since the only side effects reported from their use during the study were a dry mouth and throat irritation.
Can Vaping Reverse Lung Damage from Smoking?
Smokers who also have asthma may find that they can improve the symptoms that they experience by making the change to e-cigarettes. There is increasing amounts of evidence to suggest that vaping is not only safer than smoking tobacco but it can even help to reverse the damage to the lungs caused by the habit.
During the study, all of the participants found that their condition had improved and even those who were still occasionally using tobacco were still experiencing the benefits. The conclusion was that vaping had helped the participants to reduce their tobacco consumption and this helped in turn to reduce their asthma symptoms.
Patients who suffer from COPD may also benefit from switching to e-cigarettes as a global internet survey of over 19,000 consumers proved that more than three quarters of ex-smokers who now suffered from COPD experienced an alleviation in their symptoms following their switch to vaping, with improvements in their gustatory and olfactory senses as well as their breathing, general physical status and endurance. Over a third of the participants even reported that they could cut back or stop taking their prescribed medicines completely, with only 0.8% experiencing a worsening of their symptoms.
Despite all of this evidence, there is still a popular belief that vaping can damage the lungs, with many experts still failing to be convinced that e-cigarettes can reduce the harm caused by smoking tobacco. Many experts in the field continue to reiterate their belief that vaping is no improvement over smoking standard cigarettes even though the study actually proved that the aerosol in e-cigarettes has a considerably lower level of cytotoxicity than tobacco smoke.
Sensationalist media reports have led to public opinion being negatively swayed despite the weight of evidence demonstrating the benefits of vaping. Some studies have even suggested that the vapour produced by e-cigs may be no more harmful than the air that we all breathe in every day, however as there are some very strong contrasting views on the subject of the effect that e-cigarette vapour has on the lungs, more research is certainly required to definitively reveal the truth about the matter.
At the same time as the media, politicians and regulators are all trying to make us believe that e-cigarettes are harmful, studies such as this are showing that there are benefits to be gained in switching from tobacco smoking to vaping. When more studies are carried out in the future, there will be even more evidence to back this up, however even from the current findings, it is easy to conclude that smokers who suffer from asthma will see some significant improvements in their condition if they switch to vaping.