Research Contradicts Farsalinos Asthma Study

Posted 20th April 2016 by Dave Cross
A study is set to be presented to the CHEST conference in China this weekend that runs contrary to findings by Doctors Farsalinos and Polosa. It lays claim that rather than helping people suffering from asthma, electronic cigarettes exacerbate the problems faced.

The American College of Chest Physicians organise the CHEST conference. It is in Shanghai where researchers will present their evidence to support their claim that vaping (or “e-cigarette smoking” as they term it) has many potential dangers. The team from the Academy of Athens in Greece looked at the immediate effects of electronic cigarettes on pulmonary function in healthy and mild asthmatic young smokers.

“[Our] results show that as it happens with cigarette smoking, e-cigarette smoking has more deleterious short-term effects on asthmatics compared with healthy smokers,” Andreas Lappas is reported as saying. “Additionally, this research adds to the growing body of research pointing to the dangers of e-cigarettes. Especially for asthma, further research is needed in order to assess the risks of long-term e-cigarette use. These results show that as it happens with cigarette smoking, e-cigarette smoking has more deleterious short-term effects on asthmatics compared with healthy smokers.”

They claim that their findings evidence ecigs causing acute pulmonary function impairment, lasting for thirty minutes or less after vaping. They suggest that the measurements they took of airway obstruction and inflammation were worse after using the vaping products and these findings were more severe in asthmatics. What is striking about this is they are extrapolating a conclusion to long-term use of electronic cigarettes from a small-scale study of current smokers.

In 2014, Farsalinos wrote in the British Medical Journal: “Evidence that inhalation of e-cigarette aerosols may be of concern for the lung is non-existent. Rather, the opposite may be true. There is now evidence from clinical studies and research surveys that smokers with asthma and COPD who switched to regular e-cigarette use benefitted substantially, with improvements in their respiratory symptoms and lung function. Although prospective studies are needed to better define the harm reversal potential of e-cigarettes in patients with already-established lung disease, the available evidence is important because asthma and COPD patients are particularly vulnerable to respiratory irritants and the e-cigarette aerosol does not set off respiratory exacerbations.”

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The studies to which he referred were:

  • Polosa R, Morjaria J, Caponnetto P, Caruso M, Strano S, Battaglia E, et al. Effect of smoking abstinence and reduction in asthmatic smokers switching to electronic cigarettes: evidence for harm reversal. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2014;11:4965-4977.
  • Farsalinos KE, Romagna G, Tsiapras D, Kyrzopoulos S, Voudris V. Characteristics, perceived side effects and benefits of electronic cigarette use: a worldwide survey of more than 19,000 consumers. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2014;11:4356-4373.

Dr Farsalinos has not yet passed comment on the dubious CHEST study.

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker
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