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Secondhand ENDS aerosol exposure linked to asthma symptoms in youth

26 Dec 2018

Secondhand exposure to aerosols from electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) may contribute to asthma exacerbations in young people with asthma, a study has found.

Researchers looked at 11,830 individuals (50.1 percent male) aged 11-17 years with a self-reported diagnosis of asthma who participated in the 2016 Florida Youth Tobacco survey. Between 4 percent and 6 percent of the population reported current cigarette smoking, cigar smoking or hookah use, while almost 12 percent reported current ENDS use. Nearly half were exposed to secondhand smoke, and one-third were exposed to secondhand ENDS aerosols.

Overall, 21 percent of youth with asthma reported having an asthma attack in the past 12 months. Multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed a significant association between secondhand exposure to ENDS aerosols and asthma exacerbations in the past year (adjusted odds ratio, 1.27; 95 percent CI, 1.11–1.47).

Notably, asthma exacerbations were more common among females, those of other ethnicity (vs non-Hispanic white), current cigarette users, and those exposed to secondhand smoke (p<0.05), but less frequent among those aged 14–17 years and Hispanic/non-Hispanic individuals (p<0.05). Additional interaction test results between secondhand ENDS aerosol exposure, secondhand smoke exposure and current tobacco use were not significant (p>0.42)

Given that secondhand exposure to ENDS aerosols may be related to asthma symptoms in youth, researchers pointed out that physicians may need to counsel young people with asthma regarding the potential risks of exposure.

More studies are needed to evaluate the longitudinal relationship between secondhand ENDS aerosol exposure and asthma control.

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