Adult E-Cigarettes Use Associated with a Self-Reported Diagnosis of COPD
Department of Medicine, UConn Health, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT 06030, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 3938; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16203938
Received: 20 September 2019 / Revised: 13 October 2019 / Accepted: 14 October 2019 / Published: 16 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion)
The use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) has increased in the US, but little is known about the effects of these products on lung health. The main purpose of this study was to examine the association between e-cigarette use and a participant’s report of being diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in a nationally representative sample of adults. Methods: The first wave of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) survey adult data was used (N = 32,320). Potential confounders between e-cigarette users and non-users were balanced using propensity score matching. Odds ratios (OR) were calculated to examine the association between e-cigarette use and COPD in the propensity-matched sample, the entire sample, different age groups, and in nonsmokers. Replicate weights and balanced repeated replication methods were utilized to account for the complex survey design. Results: Of the 3642 participants who met the criteria for e-cigarette use, 2727 were propensity matched with 2727 non e-cigarette users. In the propensity-matched sample, e-cigarette users were more likely to report being diagnosed with COPD (OR 1.43, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.12–1.85) than non-e-cigarette users after adjusting for confounders. The result was similar in the entire sample and in the different age subgroups. Among nonsmokers, the odds of reporting a COPD diagnosis were even greater among e-cigarette users (OR 2.94, 95% CI 1.73–4.99) compared to non-e-cigarette users. Conclusion: Our findings demonstrate that e-cigarette use was associated with a reported diagnosis of COPD among adults in the US. Further research is necessary to characterize the nature of this association and on the long-term effects of using e-cigarettes.