From the Journals

Secondhand vaping aerosols linked to childhood asthma exacerbations



Just like exposure to secondhand smoke, exposure to secondhand aerosols from e-cigarettes is associated with an increased risk of asthma exacerbations in children, according to a review of the 11,830 kids with asthma in the 2016 Florida Youth Tobacco survey.

Teenage Boys Smoking E-cig Electronic Cigarette diego_cervo/Thinkstock

Every year, the Florida Department of Health surveys public school children aged 11-17 years about various tobacco issues. In 2016, almost 12% of the asthmatic children in the survey said they vaped. Almost half were exposed to secondhand smoke, and a third reported exposure to secondhand vaping aerosols within the past 30 days. Overall, 21% reported an asthma attack in the past 12 months.

Using data from the Florida survey, the investigators crunched the numbers and found that secondhand aerosol exposure increased the odds of an asthma attack by 27%, independent of exposure to secondhand smoke and whether children smoked or vaped themselves (adjusted odds ratio, 1.27; 95% confidence interval, 1.11-1.47).

“Health professionals may wish to counsel asthmatic youth and their families regarding the potential risks of ENDS [electronic nicotine delivery system] use and exposure to ENDS aerosols.” Providers “may also consider including ENDS aerosol exposure as a possible trigger in asthma self-management/action plans and updating asthma home environment assessments to include exposure to ENDS aerosols,” said investigators led by medical student Jennifer Bayly, a research fellow at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities in Bethesda, Md.

About 4% of adults in the United States and 11% of high school students vape, and almost 10% of U.S. adolescents reported living with an ENDS user in 2014. Given the data, “it is likely that a substantial number of asthmatic youth are exposed,” the investigators said.

The study adds to a growing body of evidence linking e-cigarettes to asthma. There’s moderate evidence for increased cough and wheezing in adolescents who use e-cigarettes, plus an association with e-cigarette use and increased asthma exacerbations. The new study, however, is likely the first to look specifically at secondhand exposure among asthmatic children. Ingredients in vaping aerosols, including flavorings, propylene glycol, and vegetable glycerin, are physiologically active in the lungs, and may be lung irritants.

Overall, about half of the respondents were female, and two-thirds were 11-13 years old. About a third identified as Hispanic, a third as white, and just over a fifth as black. Three-quarters of the sample lived in large or midsized metropolitan areas, and close to two-thirds in stand-alone homes. Participants were considered exposed to secondhand aerosols if they reported that in the past month they were in a room or car with someone who was vaping.

The work was funded by the National Institutes of Health. The investigators had no disclosures.

SOURCE: Bayly JE et al. CHEST®. 2018 Oct 22. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2018.10.005.

Next Article: