New study shows no negative health impacts after 3 1/2 years of vaping.

New study shows no negative health impacts after 3.5 years of vaping

In a landmark, long-term research project published just this month, scientists discovered that vaping produces no adverse health effects even after 3.5 years of daily use.  The research team led by the Professor Riccardo Polosa of the University of Catania Center for Tobacco Research began its study by monitoring nine individual daily vapers with no previous history of smoking.  They then compared their results to a control group of twelve never-smokers who were also never-vapers.

Many alarmist anti-tobacco advocates often support the notion that vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking, but they fall short of endorsing the technology completely.  They often cite the lack of reputable scientific evidence proving that long-term use of electronic cigarettes is harm-free.  The primary objective of the Polosa research project was to provide this evidence once and for all.  The results are published in a report entitled, Health impact of E-cigarettes: a prospective 3.5-year study of regular daily users who have never smoked, which is located on the medical journal Nature

Overview of the Polosa vaping study

The researchers monitored several biomarkers in both the vaping and the non-vaping control groups.  Because anti-vaping activists often focus on “teen vaping,” Polosa and his team wanted to focus primarily on younger users.  So, the average age of the nine daily vapers was 29.7 years.  The many different biomarkers measured and evaluated include the following.

  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Lung and respiratory functions
  • Levels of exhaled nitric acid
  • Levels of exhaled carbon monoxide
  • Lung HRCT scans
  • Possible damage caused by:
    • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
    • Bronchiolitis Obliterans (“Popcorn Lung”)
    • Lipoid Pneumonia
    • And several other respiratory disorders

Of the daily vaping group, four individuals did not complete the testing protocols.  Another three participants were eventually excluded for not conforming to the guidelines of the study. Of the non-smoking, non-vaping group, three individuals were either excluded or did not complete the entire 3.5-year study.  Of the remaining participants, the scientists discovered that the daily vapers exhibited no negative effects in any of the above-listed biomarkers. 

“In a small sample of young-adult never-smoking, daily EC users who were carefully followed for approximately 3½ years, we found no decrements in spirometric indices, development of respiratory symptoms, changes in markers of lung inflammation in exhaled air or findings of early lung damage on HRCT, when compared with a carefully matched group of never-smoking non-EC users. Even the heaviest EC users failed to exhibit any evidence of emerging lung injury as reflected in these physiologic, clinical or inflammatory measures. Moreover, no changes were noted in blood pressure or heart rate. Since the EC users who we studied were never smokers, potential confounding by inhalation of combustion products of tobacco were obviated.”

Dr. Polosa and his team recognize that the test’s control groups were rather small, but they also agree that this first-of-its-kind longitudinal study is a positive first step towards addressing the concerns of long-term vaping.  In the United States, less than 1% of daily vapers are also never smokers.  Yet, the mainstream media tends to paint these usually younger vapers as being at increased risks of respiratory ailments, heart disease, and other medical disorders.  Polosa and his team hope to continue their research in the future to shed new light on this critical area of vaping science.