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Smoking and vaping linked to eye problems in young people.
A new study found a link between smoking and vaping among teens and the frequency and severity of eye problems they reported.
The researchers said that health care clinicians should use their findings to educate smokers and vapers about the risks to eye health.
While the health risks associated with smoking have been well established, the health risks associated with using e-cigarettes or vaping (also known as e-smoking) are only beginning to be investigated, especially for young people.
Since 2014, e-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among US teens. Currently, e-smoking has been associated with increased blood pressure, heart rate, lung airway resistance, and immune system response. Some people choose to use cigarettes or e-cigarettes, while others use both.
Researchers from McGill University in Canada decided to focus on the frequency and severity of eye problems reported by teen and young adult cigarette and e-cigarette users, an area that has been little studied.
They recruited 4,351 Americans aged between 13 and 24 years. Participants were classified according to whether they used cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or both. They were asked if they had ever used e-cigarettes or cigarettes, even if only one puff (“ever users”). They were then asked if they had used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days (“past 30-day users”). They were then asked if past 30-day users had smoked in the past 7 days (“past 7-day users”). Participants also answered similar questions about their use of other combustibles, including blunts, cigars/cigarillos, and smoked cannabis.
Participants were asked to rate their vision. They were also asked to indicate the frequency and severity of the following 10 symptoms in and around their eyes: eye discomfort, pain/stinging, burning/stinging, itching, redness, dryness/grittiness, glare/light sensitivity, blurred vision, fatigue/eye strain, and headache.
Among the 4,351 participants, 50.2% had used e-cigarettes at least once in their lifetime, and 36.5% had smoked cigarettes (ever users). Among the 2,183 participants who had ever used e-cigarettes, 55.9% had also smoked cigarettes (“dual users”). Among the 1,092 past 30-day users, 44.3% were dual users. Among the 919 past 7-day users, 45.8% were dual users. Among all participants, 54.8% had used other combustibles at least once in their lifetime.
After adjusting for sociodemographic factors, contact lens use, and other combustible use, participants who had smoked cigarettes at least once in their lifetime were more likely to have more severe eye burning/stinging and blurred vision than all other participants. These participants were also more likely to frequently experience eye burning/stinging and dryness/grittiness than all other participants.
Compared with all other participants, past 30-day cigarette-only users were more likely to have more severe and frequent blurred vision. Compared with all other participants, past 7-day cigarette-only users were more likely to have more severe blurred vision and also more likely to have more frequent pain/itching and blurred vision.
Between 1.1% and 3.9% of dual users reported severe to very severe eye symptoms and between 0.9% and 4.3% of users reported daily symptoms. Compared with all other participants, participants who had used both e-cigarettes and cigarettes at least once in their lifetime (dual users) were more likely to have more severe dryness/grittiness and blurred vision.
Compared with all other participants, past 30-day dual users were most likely to have more severe and frequent eye discomfort, pain/stinging, burning/stinging, itching, redness, dryness/grittiness, glare/light sensitivity, blurred vision, and headache. Compared with all other participants, past 7-day dual users were most likely to have more severe and frequent eye discomfort, pain/stinging, burning/stinging, itching, redness, dryness/grittiness, glare/light sensitivity, blurred vision, headache, and fatigue/strain.
The study results suggest that dual users are at increased risk of eye symptoms regardless of how often they use cigarettes and e-cigarettes. They hypothesize that the reason for the eye problems among cigarette and e-cigarette users is oxidative stress,
which may be related to vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels) in the eyes.
They acknowledge some limitations of the study.
Mainly, that the number of cigarettes smoked cannot be directly applied to the amount of e-cigarettes used, so they could not compare the two products from a light, moderate, and heavy use perspective.
Also, the study did not establish a causal relationship between cigarette and e-cigarette use and eye symptoms.
Nevertheless, they think the results of the study are useful.
The researchers said: “Further longitudinal studies are needed to validate our findings. These findings provide more reasons to screen, counsel, and treat all tobacco users to prevent and reduce eye symptoms. We recommend that health care clinicians ask all patients about nicotine product use and provide counseling and treatment for those who use these products to help prevent and reduce ocular problems.”
The study was published in JAMA Ophthalmology.
Smoking and vaping linked to eye problems in young people
(source:internet, reference only)