Vaping nicotine may reverse lung damage in asthma patients, says study
Almost all patients suffering from asthma experience a gradual decline in respiratory functions, especially if those patients happen to smoke. Perhaps even more alarming, the effectivity rates of asthma medications tend to decline over time as the progression of the disease escalates, even in non-smoking patients. While the long-term lung damage to lung tissue has been previously thought to be irreparable, a group of Italian scientists is conducting groundbreaking research regarding nicotine therapies, perhaps through vaping devices, as a possible treatment.
The study was led by Dr. Riccardo Polosa of the University of Catania. The researchers followed a group of eighteen asthmatic patients who were also smokers for a period of over 2-years. What they determined is that transitioning to vaping exhibited a consistent and dramatic increase in lung and respiratory functions over the course of the project.
Overview of the asthmatic vaping study
The research is published via the Discovery Medicine website and is entitled Persisting long term benefits of smoking abstinence and reduction in asthmatic smokers who have switched to electronic cigarettes. The scientists began by measuring the lung functions of each of the eighteen participants. Each participant agreed to quit smoking by transitioning to vaping. New data was collected on the predetermined biomarkers at 6-month milestones throughout the two years. The biomarkers being monitored included the following.
- AHR Levels
- FEV1 Levels
- FEF25-75 Levels
- FVC Levels ACQ Levels
- PC20 Levels
- Airway responsivity rates
- Asthma control and exacerbation rates
- Cigarettes per day compared to vaping levels
- Overall lung functions
While the scientists conducted their 6-month evaluations on each subject, the participants were also required to complete a standard questionnaire pertaining to the progression or digression of their related asthmatic symptoms. The researchers also noted in their findings that not all of the eighteen participants successfully made the transition to vaping without engaging in dual use, at least for part of the 2-year project. Two participants even admitted to returning to smoking permanently.
According to the research, the two relapsing smokers experienced significant deterioration in respiratory and lung functions compared to the dual use and vaping-only groups, especially regarding their PC20 and ACQ scores. Dual users saw a measurable increase in lung health, while the vaping-only group witnessed the most substantial increases of all.
“The present study confirms that regular EC use ameliorates objective and subjective disease outcomes in asthma and shows that these beneficial effects may persist in the long term. Large controlled studies are now warranted to elucidate the emerging role of the e-vapor category for smoking cessation and/or reversal of harm in asthma patients who smoke. Nonetheless, the notion that substitution of conventional cigarettes with EC is unlikely to raise significant respiratory concerns, can improve counseling between physicians and their asthmatic patients who are using or intend to use ECs.”
Due to the small size of the control group, the Polosa team makes clear in their published report that more research is needed before they can definitively say that vaping nicotine can reverse lung damage in asthmatic patients. But the results of this preliminary study are hopeful, and they plan to continue forward with more studies in this field.
Related Article: NEW STUDY SHOWS NO NEGATIVE HEALTH IMPACTS AFTER 3.5 YEARS OF VAPING