First study to demonstrate improvements in smoking asthma patients after switching to e-cigarette use


By Dr Farsalinos

Α very important study was published today in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Researchers from the University of Catania, led by Prof Riccardo Polosa, retrospectively evaluated the changes in respiratory status of smoking patients with asthma. They compared objective results of spirometry as well as subjective data before and after switching from tobacco cigarettes to electronic cigarettes. In total, 18 patients were evaluated. 

The study found substantial improvements in respiratory function, as assessed by spirometry. Evidence of improvement was also established for dual users, who most probably have substantially reduced cigarette consumption. The patients reported subjective improvements in their health status, based on a validated questionnaire that was used by the researchers. No change in asthma exacerbations was observed, but the baseline number of exacerbations was quite low.

The study is very important because asthma patients are particularly vulnerable to respiratory irritants. Smoking is well-known to worsen their condition, still many asthmatics smoke. Until now, we did not have objective evidence that there is any improvement in their respiratory status when switching to electronic cigarettes. This study, although retrospective, provides the first clinical evidence of beneficial effects in this patient group. Importantly, benefits were also observed in dual users. More prospective studies are needed to better define the role of electronic cigarettes as harm reduction products in patients with already-established lung disease.


The study is available with free access to the full text here


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