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AUSTIN (KXAN) – Vaping, or e-cigarette smoking, may increase the risk of developing asthma, even if those kids have never smoked typical tobacco products, according to a Texas A&M University School of Public Health research study.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices. When inhaled, a fluid – often infused with nicotine and flavor – heats and creates a vapor. The devices were innovated as an alternative to tobacco products but have grown in popularity among children and teenagers, the study team said. One study examining vaping trends in 2021 found that 11.3% of high school-aged students reported vaping in the past 30 days.
Taehyun Roh, a Texas A&M assistant professor, and his team analyzed data from a national annual survey conducted by the CDC to look at the relationship between vaping and asthma as well as what risk factors contribute to teenagers picking up the habit.
Over 3,000 high school-aged Texans who completed the survey from 2015 to 2019 were included in the analysis. Researchers compared that data with the responses of over 30,000 adolescents from all over the U.S.
The team behind the study looked at responses to questions about e-cigarette use, asthma, age, race, depression, and substance use.
In addition to finding a link between asthma and e-cigarettes, the analysis showed that age, substance use, and depression were all factors associated with vaping use among Texas teens. They also found that males were more likely than females to use e-cigarettes.
“Increasing knowledge about the harmful effects of e-cigarette use, implementing stricter regulations, and promoting alternative coping mechanisms for mental health are potential interventions to mitigate e-cigarette use,” Roh was quoted saying in a news release.
While they found that Hispanic adolescents were less likely to vape than white Texas teens were, the researchers found no significant differences between racial or ethnic groups in the U.S. overall.
Roh and his team hope this study can inform public health policies and strategies and ultimately reduce the use of these products among adolescents.