Long-Term Effects of Vaping Under Investigation

Study is part of a plan to study millennials’ health habits

 The long-term impact of vaping on the lungs and the impact of early-life air pollution exposures will be a key focus of a first-of-its-kind, federally funded, longitudinal study of lung health among millennials.

Researchers from Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, in partnership with the American Lung Association, plan to follow 4,000 healthy adults from the ages of 25 to 35 in an effort to gain further insights into the causes of chronic respiratory diseases common in later life.

The first 6 years of the study will be funded by a $24.8-million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

“One of the explicit scientific goals of our study is to evaluate exposures relevant today, as opposed to the late 1970s when prior studies were done,” Kalhan told MedPage Today.

He noted that the landscape of tobacco product use and other exposures has changed dramatically since then. For example, cigarette smoking among adults in the U.S. dropped to 14 percent in 2017, which was the lowest level ever recorded. Meanwhile, the use of electronic cigarettes has exploded within the last decade among teens and young adults. Use among teens increased by 78% in 1 year alone from 2017 to 2018.

“Vaping is one thing, but it’s not the only thing,” Kalhan said. “How millennials exercise, how they eat, pretty much everything they do is different. So we need to think about the future of public health in the context of 21st-century behaviors.”

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