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Secondhand exposure to aerosols from electronic nicotine delivery systems and asthma exacerbations among youth with asthma

Jennifer Bayly, Debra Bernat, Lauren Porter, et al.
Chest 2018 (ePub ahead of print)

E-cigarettes are continually rising as a favourable option for smoking cessation. However, a deep understanding of their long-term safety is still lacking. Recently, interest has grown in the impact of secondhand aerosol exposure to patient health, particularly in those affected by respiratory disease.

To address this question, this study examined the relationship between secondhand electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) aerosol exposure and asthma exacerbations in the young. Using data collected from the 2016 Florida Youth Tobacco survey, researchers analysed participant asthma status and exposure to secondhand ENDS aerosol. Analyses were restricted to those aged 11–17 years old with a self-reported diagnosis of asthma (n=11,830).

Results demonstrated that of those surveyed, 21% of those with asthma reported an asthma exacerbation within the previous 12 months. In addition, 33% of those surveyed reported secondhand exposure to ENDS aerosol. After controlling for demographics, tobacco product use (including ENDS) and secondhand tobacco smoke exposure, the association between secondhand ENDS aerosol exposure and asthma exacerbations remained significant.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that such exposure may be related to an increase in asthma symptoms in asthmatic patients between the ages of 11 and 17. However, although compelling, the researchers did emphasise that the findings only demonstrated an association as opposed to a causal relationship. Despite this, they emphasised the importance of counselling asthmatic youths on the potential risks associated with ENDS aerosol exposure.

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