Scientists are still investigating links between vaping and asthma. Some researchers suggest that vaping may increase a person’s likelihood of developing asthma. However, further studies are necessary.

Asthma is a chronic condition that affects a person’s lungs. People with asthma can develop inflamed and narrowed airways in their lungs. This means they may have difficulty breathing at times.

A person’s asthma symptoms can happen or get worse due to certain triggers. There is no cure for asthma, but people can use treatments to help manage it. According to the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), about 7.8% of people in the United States had asthma in 2020.

This article discusses how vaping affects asthma. It also looks at tips for managing asthma, quitting vaping, and when to speak with a doctor.

Asthma and allergy resources

To discover more evidence-based information and resources for living with asthma and allergies, visit our dedicated hub.

Was this helpful?
a man is vaping wearing a blue jacket, a cloud of steam is covering his faceShare on Pinterest
electravk/Getty Images

Vaping is using an electronic device, or e-cigarette, to inhale nicotine in vapor instead of in smoke from tobacco products such as cigarettes. The device heats a liquid solution that contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals.

Scientists are still learning about the long-term effects of vaping on people’s health. However, researchers have published some recent studies on how vaping affects asthma.

A 2022 review investigated how vaping affects adolescents with asthma. The researchers found that there are few studies on the effect of vaping on asthma, and some findings contradicted each other.

They also found that vaping had many effects on a person’s airways. These effects included an increased risk of asthma development and a greater risk of making a person’s asthma worse. Vaping may make a person’s airways more inflamed. It may also reduce the body’s ability to defend itself against infections.

A 2019 article discussed the association between vaping and asthma in people who have never smoked. The researchers surveyed 402,822 U.S. adults who had never smoked, by telephone.

They found that people who vaped but never smoked had increased odds of having asthma. However, they did note some limitations with the study. Their data relied on self-reporting from the people in the study. It did not include detailed information on the type or nature of their vaping.

They pointed out that most vape users in the study were aged 18–24. The study participants might have started to vape after developing asthma in early life, which would not mean vaping caused their asthma. The researchers could also not draw any conclusions on the way vaping might cause asthma.

In a 2021 study with similar conclusions, the study authors used similar methods to investigate associations with vaping and asthma and other lung diseases.

Although the researchers noted similar limitations to the above 2019 study, they concluded vaping was associated with increased odds of people developing asthma. They recommended that more research into the short- and long-term effects of vaping is necessary.

People can manage their asthma by:

  • knowing and avoiding their asthma triggers, which may involve:
    • keeping pets with fur out of their home or bedrooms
    • removing dust and mold from their house
    • limiting time outdoors if allergen levels are high
    • keeping windows closed and avoiding strenuous outdoor activity when air quality is low
    • getting the flu vaccine every year
    • talking with doctors about medications that may cause breathing problems, such as aspirin
    • keeping indoor cooking and heating devices well-ventilated
    • avoiding tobacco smoke, including secondhand smoke
  • making lifestyle changes, such as:

People may find it easier to quit vaping when they prepare in advance and have a plan. People can follow these steps to stop vaping:

  • creating a quit plan in advance, such as:
    • learning and avoiding triggers that lead to vaping
    • preparing for nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms
    • imagining and visualizing their vape-free self
    • setting a specific date to quit in advance
    • asking for help, and building a supportive network of people to help them quit
    • taking a “no vaping” pledge to or in front of friends or family
  • choosing a method for quitting, or a combination of methods, such as:
    • cutting down on vaping gradually over time to no vaping
  • talking with a tobacco cessation counselor
  • talking with healthcare professionals about medications to help quit vaping
  • making a plan and a reward for quitting, and afterward

People with asthma should see a healthcare professional at least once a year about the condition. If they experience symptoms often, they should see a doctor more frequently.

Healthcare professionals can recommend the best treatment for individuals with asthma. A person’s asthma treatment depends on:

  • their age
  • the severity of their asthma
  • how their body responds to asthma medication

People can also speak with a doctor to help stop vaping. Doctors may prescribe methods to help people quit, such as nicotine replacement therapy and medication.

Nicotine replacement therapy involves using nicotine patches, gum, or other methods to deliver a constant level of nicotine to a person. It may help prevent nicotine withdrawal symptoms and reduce the urge to vape. Doctors may also prescribe medications such as varencline or buproprion to help people stop vaping.

Doctors may recommend a person uses one method or more in combination.

Scientists are still investigating the links between vaping and asthma. Studies have shown vaping may have a link to increased chances of a person developing asthma. However, researchers have not yet identified the way that vaping may cause asthma.

Although there is no cure for asthma, people living with the condition can manage their symptoms in several ways. People who vape can also seek advice from healthcare professionals to help them quit.