Smoking and asthma – what’s the low down?
With so much evidence showing us how damaging smoking can be for asthmatics, what do we now about vaping as an alternative solution?
It has always been known that if you suffer from a lung condition, smoking is probably a bad idea. With the amount of carcinogens and pollutants in your system, it’s just simply not a viable option. But with vaping turning many a smoker away from the habit with it’s far cleaner energy source, it has only recently been studied as a benefit for those smokers suffering from the often lifelong lung condition. Below is everything you need to know about the link between vaping and asthma and the potential benefits that might come with taking on the habit.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is rather in common in modern day society and is the term for a disease which inflames the airways of the lungs. This makes it difficult to breathe, leading to symptoms such as wheezing and coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. The symptoms can be heightened by exercise or at night time, when the body is more relaxed. The root cause of the illness seems to be both an environmental and a genetic one. Some people may be more prone to asthmatic symptoms which are triggered further through the environment in which they live. This may be because of exposure to pollutants and allergens in the air.
How does smoking affect Asthma
Smoking and asthma has long been the subject of scientific studies. As tobacco smoke contains many allergens which can irritate the body and obstruct the lungs, it is naturally a bad idea for asthma sufferers to smoke. Asthma stats from the CDC in 2013 showed hat at that time, 21 percent of people with asthma smoked, and although numbers have fallen since then due to the rise of vaping, it’s still a problem which we need to find a proper solution for.
So how does smoking tobacco effect asthma on a cellular level? Inhaling tobacco smoke, as stated above, can lead to the inhalation of irritants in the body. Substances like these can cause attacks in asthma sufferers. On top of this, the smoke from tobacco causes damage to the ciliated epithelial cells in the human body. These cells usually act as a barrier between pollutants and your airways so when they are damaged, you are not only inhaling tobacco smokes pollutants, but opening yourself up to even more irritants. Tobacco smoke is also responsible for an extra build-up of mucus in the lungs, this restriction on the airways making asthma sufferers even more susceptible to an attack.
Studies on vaping and asthma
A study into electronic cigarettes and its benefits for those who suffer from asthma was undertaken by a Professor Riccardo Polosa from the University of Catania. In a journal named Discovery Medicine, studies into the debilitating effects of smoking on asthma sufferers were compared to this recent study into how vaping affects asthmatics. The hypothesis of the study was that not only would vaping help in smoking cessation for asthma sufferers, but it would halt any further damage to their body. Using 18 smokers who were asthmatic and switched to electronic cigarettes, the respiratory and physical changes were recorded over 6, 12 and 24 months. These were then compared to the health records of the subjects before they had quit smoking tobacco.
What they found
Lead doctor of the study, Professor Ricardo Polosa was recorded to have told the press that “significant improvements in respiratory symptoms and lung function have been consistent” in the subjects, leading to improvements in lung health in the long term. This is due in part to the lack of pollutants in the best e liquids, giving the lungs a way to heal themselves the longer that they do not smoke. In detail, Polosa found that exacerbation rates, lung function and a reverse in the damaging effects of methacholine PC20 were recorded as some of the definitive change sin asthma sufferers who used to smoke but vaped instead.
So in conclusion, mounting evidence is really beginning to show the benefits of vaping when used as a smoking cessation tool. That goes especially for asthmatics that need to be even more regimented when it comes to caring for their lungs.