Adolescents Who Use E-cigarettes, Marijuana Have Higher Odds of Lifetime Asthma

August 10, 2020
Sydney Jennings

Associate Editor of Patient Care Online

New research presented at the ATS 2020 Virtual meeting shows adolescents who use e-cigarettes along with marijuana and/or cigarette smoking have significantly higher odds of lifetime asthma.

US adolescents who use electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are at a higher risk of lifetime asthma, and this association significantly increases when combined with marijuana use or cigarette smoking, according to a new cross-sectional study presented at the American Thoracic Society 2020 Virtual meeting held August 5 to August 10, 2020.

E-cigarette use has been linked to asthma or asthma symptoms; however, little is known about the combined effect of e-cigarettes with marijuana or cigarette smoking. Therefore, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Children’s Hospital Pittsburgh examined whether e-cigarette use combined with marijuana or cigarette smoking could increase the risk for lifetime asthma among US adolescents.

The study included 21 532 adolescents aged 12-18 years (5222 with lifetime asthma and 16 310 control subjects) who participated in the 2015 and 2017 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). Researchers used the self-administered YRBS questionnaires to collect information on demographic characteristics, asthma, and use of an electronic vapor product, alone or in combination with marijuana and/or cigarette smoking.

For each product or substance, frequent use was defined as use for at least 10 days in the previous 30 days.

The results showed that frequent use of e-cigarettes, marijuana, and cigarette smoking were each significantly associated with 23%-68% increased odds of lifetime asthma. Also, frequent use of e-cigarettes was associated with 1.31 times increased odds of lifetime asthma (95% confidence interval, odds ratio=1.11-1.54).

Using e-cigarettes and marijuana (± cigarette smoking) was more strongly associated with lifetime asthma vs e-cigarette use alone.

Results were similar in analyses stratified by sex or race and ethnicity.

“Our results further support policies to stop use of e-cigarettes in children, as well as continued research on the detrimental effects of e-cigarettes on respiratory health,” concluded authors.