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E-cigarette use linked to permanent lung damage in teenagers

E-cigarette use has been linked to bronchitis in teenagers.

E-cigarettes have become ever-more popular in recent years with stores popping up all over North East Lincolnshire but teenagers who use them are far more likely to get bronchitis, a study has found.

Young people who vape have a 71 per cent higher risk of developing the condition than those who have never used an e-cig.

Researchers at the University Of Southern California analysed responses from more than 2,000 older teenagers asking for symptoms of chronic bronchitis, such as a regular cough for three months straight.

The study found that those who were using e-cigarettes were 85 per cent more likely to have had the lung infection. This dropped to 71 per cent when those who smoked regular cigarettes or were exposed to tobacco smoke were taken into account.

It is thought the chemical diacetyl, which is used to create e-cigarette flavourings, could be partly to blame.

Even teenagers who had used e-cigarettes but had stopped doing so were still 41 per cent more likely to report symptoms of bronchitis.

The findings are apparently similar to “popcorn lung” – a condition reported by popcorn factory workers who developed an incurable condition scarring their lungs due to exposure to diaceyl, which was used to give the snack its buttery flavour.

Dr Rob McConnell, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine, within the University of Southern California, said: “E-cigarettes are known to deliver chemicals toxic to the lungs, including oxidant metals, glycerol vapour, diketone flavouring compounds and nicotine.

“However, there has been little study of the chronic health effects of e-cigarettes.

“The Children’s Health Study provided an opportunity to examine bronchitic symptoms common among smokers to see if the risk was also increased in users of e-cigarettes.”

Researchers added that “additional study is needed to fully understand their long-term effects”.

Last year, Public Health England published a study saying vaping is 95 per cent less harmful than tobacco. They even went so far as to call for GPs to be able to prescribe e-cigarettes on the NHS to help people quit smoking.

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