E-cigarettes may worsen asthma, respiratory disease among youth

Vapors from electronic cigarettes may contain chemicals that have the potential to worsen acute respiratory diseases, such as asthma and bronchitis among adolescents and young adults, according to a press release.

Jonathan Thornburg

Jonathan Thornburg

“The emerging trend of e-cigarette use is posing public health concerns and new issues for regulatory agencies,” Jonathan Thornburg, PhD, senior research engineer and program manager at RTI, said in a press release. “E-cigarettes produce a significant number of very small particles that impact a teen user’s airway viability. To understand what the user inhales, we collected data to characterize the small particles in the vapor and to determine the chemical and toxicological characteristics of e-cigarette emissions.”

They found that up to 40% of particles from an e-cigarette can be absorbed into the deepest area of a youth’s lungs, thus irritating airways or worsening pre-existing respiratory conditions, according to the release.

“Our soon-to-be published data indicate that we need to do more research to understand how different liquids and device features alter particles and thus impact respiratory health,” Thornburg said. “What we learned from this first study will allow the design of scientifically defensible and comparable studies to further the understanding of the effects of e-cigarettes on a user’s health.”

Vapors from electronic cigarettes may contain chemicals that have the potential to worsen acute respiratory diseases, such as asthma and bronchitis among adolescents and young adults, according to a press release.

Researchers from RTI International analyzed particles expended from electronic cigarettes in a cellular model, and reported that some chemicals caused acute toxicity or lung damage observed with traditional tobacco smoke.

Jonathan Thornburg

Jonathan Thornburg

“The emerging trend of e-cigarette use is posing public health concerns and new issues for regulatory agencies,” Jonathan Thornburg, PhD, senior research engineer and program manager at RTI, said in a press release. “E-cigarettes produce a significant number of very small particles that impact a teen user’s airway viability. To understand what the user inhales, we collected data to characterize the small particles in the vapor and to determine the chemical and toxicological characteristics of e-cigarette emissions.”

They found that up to 40% of particles from an e-cigarette can be absorbed into the deepest area of a youth’s lungs, thus irritating airways or worsening pre-existing respiratory conditions, according to the release.

“Our soon-to-be published data indicate that we need to do more research to understand how different liquids and device features alter particles and thus impact respiratory health,” Thornburg said. “What we learned from this first study will allow the design of scientifically defensible and comparable studies to further the understanding of the effects of e-cigarettes on a user’s health.”