Vaping effects on asthma: results from a web survey and clinical investigation

Intern Emerg Med. 2020 Jun;15(4):663-671. doi: 10.1007/s11739-019-02247-5. Epub 2020 Jan 20.


It is well known that tobacco smoking worsens asthma. Conversely, few data are currently available in the literature on the effects of vaping in asthmatic patients. This work aims to investigate the effects of vaping on asthmatic patients and in asthmatic patients that switched from tobacco smoking to electronic cigarette (e-cig), in particular focusing on quality of life, asthma control, and pulmonary function. We designed a two-group study. One group encompassed vapers with asthma selected through a web survey with questions on quality of life and symptoms worsening; the other group encompassed vapers that switched from tobacco smoking to e-cig, and that volunteered to undergo clinical visits at our outpatient clinic. 2787 people responded to the web survey, including 631 asthmatics. In the second group, 55 volunteers, including 15 asthmatics, were enrolled after a visit. The visit included physical examination and pulmonary function tests (PFT). Internationally validated questionnaires were administered to all subjects: Asthma Control Test (ACT), Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ), 36-Item Short Form Survey (SF-36) and Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (AQLQ). The 382 asthmatic vapers-only in the web survey were mainly males (86.9%), 31-65 years old. 90% of them declared that vaping did not worsen asthma symptoms and would recommend asthmatic smokers to switch to vaping (98.4%). There was worsening of asthma symptoms due to the actual asthma therapy used by the participants, while no relationship was found with other aspects analysed. In the second group, the analysis of variance in the questionnaires administered to the 10 asthmatics showed a significant improvement in ACQ, ACT and SF-36 for asthmatics that switched from tobacco to vaping, while PFT remained stable throughout the three visits. Almost all of the asthmatics who previously smoked would recommend switching to e-cig, and vaping did not worsen their asthma symptoms. Furthermore, switching from tobacco smoking to e-cigs showed a significant improvement in asthma control and quality of life, not showing, in the period studied, to affect pulmonary function tests.

Keywords: Asthma; Electronic cigarette; Pulmonary function tests; Vaping; e-cig.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Symptom Flare Up
  • Vaping / adverse effects*