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Ocular Symptoms in Adolescents and Young Adults With Electronic Cigarette, Cigarette, and Dual Use.

JAMA Ophthalmology 2023 October 2
IMPORTANCE: Despite increasing use of cigarettes and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and related health effects among youth, few studies have reported their effects on eyes.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the frequency and severity of ocular symptoms (ocular discomfort, pain, burning, itching, redness, dryness, glare, blurriness, strain, and headaches) in young e-cigarette and cigarette users.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: In an observational cross-sectional study, a survey conducted in May 6 to 14, 2020, asked participants about use (ever, past 30 days, and past 7 days) of e-cigarettes and cigarettes. The participants included US individuals aged 13 to 24 years.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Associations between vision-related outcomes (general vision, severity/frequency of ocular symptoms) and tobacco use were analyzed using weighted multivariable logistic regressions, adjusting for sociodemographic factors, contact lens use, and other combustible use.

RESULTS: There were 2168 never users, 2183 ever users, 1092 past 30-day users, and 919 past 7-day users of e-cigarettes; 55.9% of e-cigarette ever users also used cigarettes (dual users). Of the 4351 respondents, 63.8% identified as female, and mean (SD) age was 19.1 (2.9) years. Between 1.1% and 3.9% of ever dual users reported severe to very severe ocular symptoms; between 0.9% and 4.3% reported daily symptoms, which was higher than the proportion of symptoms in e-cigarette- or cigarette-only users. Past 7-day dual users had more severe itching (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 2.37; 95% CI, 1.36-4.13; P = .002), redness (AOR, 2.58; 95% CI, 1.50-4.46; P = .001), dryness (AOR, 2.89; 95% CI, 1.64-5.08; P < .001), glare (AOR, 2.56; 95% CI, 1.50-4.35; P = .001), blurriness (AOR, 2.47; 95% CI, 1.36-4.50; P = .003), headaches (AOR, 2.31; 95% CI, 1.34-4.00; P = .003); and more frequent pain (AOR, 3.45; 95% CI, 2.09-5.68; P < .001), burning (AOR, 3.08; 95% CI, 1.86-5.09; P < .001), and redness (AOR, 2.72; 95% CI, 1.69-4.36; P < .001) than all other participants. Past 30-day dual users had more severe dryness (AOR, 2.65; 95% CI, 1.61-4.36; P < .001) and more frequent pain (AOR, 3.33; 95% CI, 2.12-5.21; P < .001) than all other participants. Ever dual users experienced more severe dryness (AOR, 1.60; 95% CI, 1.05-2.43; P = .03) and blurriness (AOR, 1.79; 95% CI, 1.21-2.64; P = .003) and more frequent pain (AOR, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.13-2.53; P = .01) and blurriness (AOR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.13-2.36; P = .009) than never users.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this cross-sectional US study, adolescents and young adult users of both e-cigarettes and cigarettes had a higher likelihood of experiencing severe and frequent ocular symptoms, with past 7-day users reporting more symptoms than past 30-day users or ever users. These findings provide additional reasons for users of e-cigarettes and cigarettes to reduce their tobacco use to possibly prevent or minimize ocular symptoms.

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