The prestigious “American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine” published a comment by researchers from CoEHAR and the University of Messina regarding a US studies that concluded that “former and current e-cigarette use was associated with higher odds of developing wheezing-related respiratory symptoms”. According to the Italian authors “the significance of the findings needs careful review”.
In the plethora of studies on the possible negative effects of electronic cigarettes on human health, it is often difficult to understand which results come from studies that follow specific research standards and rigorous methodologies.
Recently, a longitudinal study by Xie et al. investigating the respiratory health effect of e-cigarette use in a nationally representative cohort of US young adults showed that both former and current ecig use was associated with higher odds of developing any respiratory symptom and wheezing.
Researchers from CoEHAR, the Center of Excellence for the acceleration of Harm Reduction of the University of Catania, and the Unit of Infectious Diseases, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Messina, analyzed the results by US researchers.
According to the letter published on the international renewed “American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine“, the results need careful review.
Davide Campagna (researcher of CoEHAR and first author of the study) stated that: “As in previous surveys investigating the association between EC use and respiratory symptoms, cigarette smoking history was either not considered or insufficiently adjusted for in the analysis. Using a binary version of the cigarette smoking status as a proxy for a measure of cumulative physiological damage is woefully incomplete“.
Evaluating the duration or the intensity of cigarette smoking is a better self reported measure: for example, the use of pack-years of smoking shows a clear dose-response association for exposure to tobacco cigarettes and risk of new-onset asthma.
As we read in the letter: “A binary measure of current smoking status is simply not able to capture all the dimensions of tobacco use that are relevant to health of outcomes, including respiratory symptoms and a more analytical approach (i.e. pack-years) is required”.
“Studies which exposes a causality between electronic cigarette use and health effects should be carefully evaluated. In research studies, I think it is good to emphasize data by rationalizing them as much as possible: the base should be the reasoning that leads to the result (confirmed or not) rather than purposely force the research activity in order to obtain the desired result” – stated Grazia Caci, researchers at the University of Messina.