Vaping and COPD

The COPD Foundation joins with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and our patient advocacy partners in expressing concern over the increased incidence of youth vaping and acute vaping related disease and in urging people to refrain from using electronic cigarette or vaping devices. The Administration’s January 2nd announcement1 removing some pod-based flavored electronic cigarettes from the market is a positive but insufficient step towards addressing youth vaping. The Protecting American Lungs and Reversing the Youth Vaping Epidemic Act, passed by the House of Representatives on February 28, took another critical step forward by prohibiting flavored electronic cigarettes and funding important public health interventions, however, more must be done to research and regulate the use of e-cigarettes to protect the public’s health.

Smoking causes 480,000 deaths per year2. Reducing the burden of tobacco-related illness and death remains a critical public health priority and one the COPD Foundation cares deeply about. We recognize that many individuals with COPD struggle to quit tobacco use, the most important action to prevent further decline of lung function3. However, there is little conclusive evidence that e-cigarette use is an effective smoking cessation tool in the short term and over the long term. There is insufficient data that clearly shows the long-term effects of e-cigarette on the lungs, but emerging evidence suggests that e-cigarette use increases the risk for developing respiratory diseases, including COPD4.

Nicotine is a potent drug and e-cigarettes contain countless additives such as flavor enhancers and other often unknown chemicals. The COPD Foundation strongly supports comprehensive action from the FDA to prevent further harm, including closing the loopholes in the new regulations removing flavored e-cigarettes from the market and other actions outlined in the August 2016 deeming rule5 placing all electronic nicotine devices under FDA’s oversight.

We implore those who are using traditional or electronic cigarettes to contact their healthcare professionals for the evidence-based treatment and support that can help them successfully quit tobacco use safely and for good. Those who are seeking additional information on the ongoing investigation into vaping related illnesses and what is known about e-cigarette use should visit the CDC’s frequently updated information at HTTPS://WWW.CDC.GOV/TOBACCO/BASIC_INFORMATION/E-CIGARETTES/SEVERE-LUNG-DISEASE.HTML.

Smoking and e-cigarettes have been linked to a risk of Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Current smoking was linked to worse outcomes and death in COPD with as demonstrated in a recent study while another study in adolescents and young people demonstrated that those who use e-cigarette alone or in combination with cigarettes have almost 5 times the risk of getting COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us how important it is to quit smoking and vaping.

References:

  • Alqahtani JS, Oyelade T, Aldhahir AM, et al. Prevalence, severity and mortality associated with COPD and smoking in patients with COVID-19: a rapid systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS ONE. 2020;15(5):e0233147. doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0233147
  • Gaiha AM, Cheng J, Halpern-Felsher B. Association between youth smoking, electronic cigarette use, and coronavirus disease-2019. J Adolesc Health. 2020;In press. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2020.07.002

Recomendations

Adapted from the CDC guidance,5 the COPD Foundation Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee (MASAC) agrees with the following:

  • Everyone and especially people with COPD should not vape or use any of the device liquids that may contain THC, or CBD or that you get off the street or from family and friends. It may be hard to know what they really contain.

Download the COPD Foundation Statement on Vaping for Healthcare Professionals