Breaking News! – New Study Suggests E-cigs Ease Respiratory Harm in Asthmatic Smokers

New Study Suggests E-cigs Ease Respiratory Harm in Asthmatic Smokers!

HOUSTON – Asthmatic smokers who switched to electronic cigarettes showed evidence suggestive of respiratory harm reversal in a retrospective pilot study.

“Electronic cigarette use improves respiratory physiology and subjective asthma outcomes in asthmatic smokers. E-cigarettes are a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes in this vulnerable population,” Dr. Cristina Russo declared at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

She said that her small retrospective study is the first to examine the respiratory health impact of a switch to e-cigarettes by asthmatic smokers.

Every one of the objective and subjective measures of asthma status evaluated in the study showed statistically significant improvement 1 year after patients adopted e-cigarettes, and the e-cigarette users’ consumption of conventional cigarettes dropped precipitously, reported Dr. Russo of the University of Catania (Italy).

She and her colleagues in the university asthma clinic have taken to suggesting the use of battery-powered e-cigarettes to their asthmatic smokers who haven’t benefited from or aren’t interested in trying the more conventional approaches to smoking cessation or reduction, including medications. While abstinence from cigarette smoking is best, the available evidence indicates e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than conventional cigarettes in the general population, she said.

The study included 18 smokers with mild to moderate asthma who switched to e-cigarettes and underwent spirometry and other testing at baseline and 6 and 12 months of follow-up. Ten patients switched over to e-cigarettes exclusively, while the other 8 used both conventional and e-cigarettes.

Among the highlights: The mid-range forced expiratory flow (25%-75%) showed a major, clinically important improvement, increasing from 2.75 L/sec to 3.11 L/sec. And patients’ mean self-reported conventional cigarette consumption dropped from 21.9 per day at baseline to 5 at 6 months and 3.9 per day at 12 months.

Dr. Cristina Russo
Dr. Cristina Russo

Among the group at large, no significant change was seen in the frequency of asthma exacerbations resulting in hospitalization. However, among the frequent exacerbators – the six patients with two or more exacerbations during the 6 months prior to baseline – exacerbation frequency was cut in half both 6 and 12 months following the switch to e-cigarettes.

Dr. Russo’s presentation sparked vigorous audience discussion. Several physicians cited a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warning about the unknowns regarding e-cigarette safety, and one allergist declared he didn’t think physicians should ever encourage patients to smoke anything. But others defended the “lesser of two evils” approach adopted by Dr. Russo and coworkers.

Dr. Russo noted that the prevalence of smoking among asthma patients is similar to that of the general population. She called smoking and asthma “a dangerous liaison.” Smoking accelerates asthma patients’ decline in lung function, worsens persistent airways obstruction, and increases insensitivity to corticosteroids.

Her study was supported by a university grant and the Italian League Against Smoking. She reported having no financial conflicts.

bjancin@frontlinemedcom.com

Original Article as published on – http://www.familypracticenews.com/home/article/respiratory-harm-reversal-seen-in-asthmatic-smokers-on-e-cigarettes/22fae873292e5050a5c9c89a8cffb3c5.html

E-cigs Ease Respiratory Harm in Asthmatic Smokers

E-cigarettes less addictive than cigarettes says Penn State

E-cigarettes less addictive than cigarettes, says Penn State Researchers

E-cigarettes less addictive than cigarettes, says Penn State Researchers

E-cigarettes less addictive than cigarettes, says Penn State Researchers

HERSHEY, Pa. — E-cigarettes appear to be less addictive than cigarettes for former smokers and this could help improve understanding of how various nicotine delivery devices lead to dependence, according to researchers. “We found that e-cigarettes appear to be less addictive than tobacco cigarettes in a large sample of long-term users,” said Jonathan Foulds, professor of public health sciences and psychiatry, Penn State College of Medicine. The popularity of e-cigarettes, which typically deliver nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerin and flavorings through inhaled vapor, has increased in the past five years. There are currently more than 400 brands of “e-cigs” available. E-cigs contain far fewer cancer-causing and other toxic substances than cigarettes, however their long-term effects on health and nicotine dependence are unknown.

To study e-cigarette dependence, the researchers developed an online survey, including questions designed to assess previous dependence on cigarettes and almost identical questions to assess current dependence on e-cigs. More than 3,500 current users of e-cigs who were ex-cigarette smokers completed the Penn State Cigarette Dependence Index and the Penn State Electronic Cigarette Dependence Index.

Higher nicotine concentration in e-cig liquid, as well as use of advanced second-generation e-cigs, which deliver nicotine more efficiently than earlier “cigalikes,” predicted dependence. Consumers who had used e-cigs longer also appeared to be more addicted.

“However, people with all the characteristics of a more dependent e-cig user still had a lower e-cig dependence score than their cigarette dependence score,” Foulds said. “We think this is because they’re getting less nicotine from the e-cigs than they were getting from cigarettes.”

Although many regular users on e-cigarettes are trying to quit smoking, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved them for this use, and they cannot be marketed as a smoking cessation product.

“This is a new class of products that’s not yet regulated,” Foulds said. “It has the potential to do good and help a lot of people quit, but it also has the potential to do harm. Continuing to smoke and use e-cigarettes may not reduce health risks. Kids who have never smoked might begin nicotine addiction with e-cigs. There’s a need for a better understanding of these products.

“We don’t have long-term health data of e-cig use yet, but any common sense analysis says that e-cigs are much less toxic. And our paper shows that they appear to be much less addictive, as well. So in both measures they seem to have advantages when you’re concerned about health.”

The findings, which are published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, also have implications for developing e-cigs for smoking cessation.

“We might actually need e-cigarettes that are better at delivering nicotine because that’s what’s more likely to help people quit,” Foulds said.

Previous research shows that nicotine replacement efficacy correlates with higher nicotine dose and faster delivery speed.

The new index used in the study is more modern than the most widely used dependence survey, the Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence. That scale was developed 25 years ago and does not reflect modern use of tobacco and nicotine products.

“People smoke fewer cigarettes today but are still clearly addicted, and the old scale — while still reasonably effective — was not designed to measure that,” Foulds said.

The new questionnaire also allows for cross-comparisons between different nicotine and tobacco products.

“Not only are e-cigs a booming industry, but new tobacco products are set to enter the market soon,” Foulds said. “Our questionnaire is designed to compare dependence across different products simply by substituting the different product name into the questionnaire in place of cigarettes.”

Additional researchers on this project are Susan Veldheer, research coordinator, Jessica Yingst, research assistant, and Shari Hrabovsky, research nurse practitioner, all at Penn State College of Medicine; Stephen J. Wilson and Travis T. Nichols, both at Penn State; and Thomas T. Eissenberg at Virginia Commonwealth University.

This work was initially funded by an internal grant from Penn State Social Science Research Institute and Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health and the Center for Tobacco Products of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

 

Article Credit

– This is the Original Article as posted by Jennifer Abbasi on December 9, 2014 on http://news.psu.edu/story/337639/2014/12/09/research/e-cigarettes-less-addictive-cigarettes

Image: ©iStock Photo mauro_grigollo