New research on adult smokers with lung conditions08.01.21
For adult smokers unable to give up cigarettes, switching to a less harmful alternative such as vapes can be beneficial at any life stage suggests new peer-reviewed research.
According to researchers at the Center of Excellence for the Acceleration of Harm Reduction (CoEHAR) in Italy, smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who switched to vaping reduced the annual reccurence of symptoms by about 50%. Furthermore, their cardio-respiratory health significantly improved, as did their ability to exercise and their quality of life.
COPD is an umbrella term for a number of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties, such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Symptoms include increasing breathlessness, a persistent chesty cough with phlegm, as well as frequent chest infections and persistent wheezing.
COPD affects 1.2 million Britons and 15.7 million Americans, with smoking regarded as the primary cause. Although damage to the lungs is permanent, treatment or stopping smoking can help slow down progression of the condition.
Demonstrating the positive effects of adult smokers changing their habits, the CoEHAR research revealed “significant and constant improvements in lung function [and] CAT scores” (a health questionnaire used for COPD patients) in the study’s vaping group compared with the control group.
The study also notes that adult smokers with COPD have high failure rates in their attempts to quit smoking, with traditional nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) appearing to have only fairly small or variable effects on sustained cessation.
The single most important step smokers suffering from COPD can take is to quit smoking. Many adult smokers may want to quit but find it difficult, and feel they have ‘left it too late’ to make a change for the better.
The implications of the research suggest that we cannot treat adult smokers as a lost cause when evidence shows switching to a less harmful alternative such as vapes, even at a late stage in life, will potentially help them.
What’s more, the study revealed only 8.3% of patients from the COPD vape user group relapsed to cigarette smoking over the five year duration of the study, suggesting that “relapse prevention may be an important mechanism by which vaping contributes to long-term smoking abstinence.”
Adult smokers living with conditions such as COPD may view their attempts to quit as a non-starter – but this mindset becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. This study suggests that switching to vaping can keep adult smokers on track in their efforts to kick their smoking habit for good.