Vaping can be worse than smoking for your nose and throat

TUESDAY, March 1, 2022 (HealthDay News) — E-cigarette and hookah users may be at greater risk than tobacco cigarette smokers for cancers of the nose, sinuses and throat, according to a new study.

That’s because vapers and hookah users are more than twice as likely to exhale smoke through their noses as cigarette smokers, who usually exhale smoke through their mouths, the researchers explained.

“Our findings suggest that the unique way vapers and hookah smokers use their devices may expose the nose and sinuses to far more emissions than cigarettes,” said lead author Emma Karey, a postdoctoral researcher at NYU Langone Health in New York City.

These, in turn, may increase their risk of upper respiratory tract disease, Karey explained in a medical center press release.

The researchers observed 123 vapers and 122 cigarette smokers on the streets of New York City. They also checked 96 people who smoked in two hookah bars.

They found that 63% of vapers and 50% of hookah smokers exhaled through their noses, compared to 22% of cigarette smokers.

More than 1 in 20 American adults are vapers. Previous research has shown that both e-cigarettes and bongs expose users’ respiratory tract to higher levels of nicotine, carbon monoxide and other toxic chemicals than traditional cigarettes and cigars.

However, the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes and bongs remain poorly understood.

“Since vaping and bong devices are used differently than traditional cigarettes, we need to consider diseases of both the nose and lungs to evaluate their safety before assessing whether one is more risky than the other,” said study co-author, Terry Gordon, a professor of environmental medicine at NYU Langone.

In a related study, the same research team found increased damage in the nasal passages of vapers and hookah users. Levels of inflammatory substances released by immune cells in the nose were up to 10 times higher for vapers and hookah users compared to cigarette smokers.

Further research is needed to confirm whether this nasal damage in vapers and hookah users is actually due to how they expel smoke and not unrelated issues, Gordon noted.

The study was published March 1 in the journal Tobacco Use Insights.

More information

There’s more about vaping at the US National Institute on Drug Abuse.

SOURCE: NYU Langone Health, press release, March 1, 2022

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