Association Between E-Cigarette Use and Visual Impairment in the United States

Am J Ophthalmol. 2022 Mar;235:229-240. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2021.09.014. Epub 2021 Sep 26.

Abstract

Purpose: To determine whether there is an association between e-cigarette use and visual impairment in the United States adult population.

Design: Cross-sectional.

Methods: In this population survey study, we reviewed 1,173,646 adults ≥18 years of age from all 50 United States and 3 U.S. territories with self-reported responses to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's 2016-2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) annual telephone survey. We reviewed e-cigarette use (current, former, or never), as assessed by the questions: "Have you ever used an e-cigarette or other electronic vaping product, even just one time, in your entire life?" and "Do you now use e-cigarettes or other electronic vaping products every day, some days, or not at all?" The primary outcome measure was visual impairment, defined as a binary outcome "yes" or "no" to the question, "Are you blind or do you have serious difficulty seeing, even when wearing glasses?"

Results: After excluding missing data, there were 1,173,646 participants. The adjusted odds ratio of visual impairment in current e-cigarette users compared with never e-cigarette users was 1.34 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.20-1.48), and in former e-cigarette users was 1.14 (95% CI 1.06-1.22). In the subgroup of 662,033 never users of traditional cigarettes (weighted 59.6% of study population), the adjusted odds ratio of visual impairment in current e-cigarette users compared with never e-cigarette users was 1.96 (95% CI 1.48-2.61) and in former e-cigarette users was 1.02 (95% CI 0.89-1.18).

Conclusions: Current compared with never e-cigarette usage was associated with a higher odds of visual impairment in the BRFSS 2016-2018 population, independent of traditional cigarette use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Humans
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vaping* / adverse effects
  • Vaping* / epidemiology
  • Vision Disorders / epidemiology
  • Vision Disorders / etiology