Association of E-Cigarette Use With Respiratory Disease Among Adults: A Longitudinal Analysis

Dharma N Bhatta, Stanton A Glantz
American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2019 December 11

INTRODUCTION: E-cigarettes deliver an aerosol of nicotine by heating a liquid and are promoted as an alternative to combustible tobacco. This study determines the longitudinal associations between e-cigarette use and respiratory disease controlling for combustible tobacco use.

METHODS: This was a longitudinal analysis of the adult Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Waves 1, 2, and 3. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to determine the associations between e-cigarette use and respiratory disease, controlling for combustible tobacco smoking, demographic, and clinical variables. Data were collected in 2013-2016 and analyzed in 2018-2019.

RESULTS: Among people who did not report respiratory disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or asthma) at Wave 1, the longitudinal analysis revealed statistically significant associations between former e-cigarette use (AOR=1.31, 95% CI=1.07, 1.60) and current e-cigarette use (AOR=1.29, 95% CI=1.03, 1.61) at Wave 1 and having incident respiratory disease at Waves 2 or 3, controlling for combustible tobacco smoking, demographic, and clinical variables. Current combustible tobacco smoking (AOR=2.56, 95% CI=1.92, 3.41) was also significantly associated with having respiratory disease at Waves 2 or 3. Odds of developing respiratory disease for a current dual user (e-cigarette and all combustible tobacco) were 3.30 compared with a never smoker who never used e-cigarettes. Analysis controlling for cigarette smoking alone yielded similar results.

CONCLUSIONS: Use of e-cigarettes is an independent risk factor for respiratory disease in addition to combustible tobacco smoking. Dual use, the most common use pattern, is riskier than using either product alone.

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