What is Vaping?

V

aping refers to inhaling and exhaling aerosolized particles from an e-cigarette. An e-cigarette is an electronic device filled with a nicotine-based liquid that is vaporized when the device is used.

Vaping was initially hailed as an important innovation. It was believed smokers could use e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco. This would reduce exposure to nicotine, tar, and other hazardous substances.

What’s more, many smokers considered vaping soothing, giving them “something to do with their hands” and a way to react in stressful situations where they would usually smoke. Some people succeeded in using vaping as a stepping stone to quit smoking.

With that said, the long term effects of vaping have not been fully studied. While many individuals view vaping as a step in the right direction to eliminate smoking, more research needs to be compiled on the effects it can have on individuals and society as a whole.

What Conditions is Vaping Associated With?

The unique condition associated with vaping is referred by the new medical acronym EVALI.

It stands for E-Cigarette or Vaping Associated Lung Injury.

As of October 22, 2019, 34 known deaths were associated with EVALI. The median age of victims was 45 and 59% of them were men.

In total, nearly 2,300 cases of EVALI were reported to the CDC by November 20, 2019. All 50 states have been affected except Alaska.

Samples of lung tissue taken from victims have tested positive for high amounts of vitamin E acetate, a toxin in some vaping products. Vitamin E acetate is believed to be safe when used in nutritional supplements or skincare products, but not when ingested.

Lung damage caused by EVALI can cause symptoms similar to pneumonia. Damage to the lungs makes it difficult for the body to take in oxygen and distribute it throughout the body.

EVALI is distinct from, but related to, bronchiolitis obliterans – also known as popcorn lung. This is an inflammatory condition that affects the tiniest airways within the lungs. Inflammation can lead to scarring that blocks airways, causing coughing and shortness of breath.

What Research Currently Exists Around Vaping?

The association between vaping and EVALI is already an established scientific fact. However, it is not yet clear exactly what risk factors contribute to the development of EVALI.

Current research focuses on finding a definitive answer for what chemicals or other factors may be responsible for EVALI. This will help the medical community understand why some e-cigarette enthusiasts are affected and others are not, paving the way for effective treatment.

Why Are Further Vaping Clinical Trials Important?

Vaping clinical trials will be essential to the long-term health and quality of life of those affected by EVALI or popcorn lung. Evidence of disease has been found in teens as well as elderly adults.

Unfortunately, there is no treatment capable of reversing the lung damage caused by EVALI. As with other pervasive lung disorders, such as COPD, therapies are likely to focus on preserving healthy lung function.

Current Vaping Clinical Trials

This is the current list of active vaping clinical trials on record with ClinicalTrials.gov.

Patients are advised to watch this space carefully, since new clinical resources for vaping health are being developed rapidly.

  • Acute Effects of TCIG vs ECIG in PLWH
    on September 29, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    Conditions:   E Cigarette Use;   Vaping;   Smoking;   Tobacco Smoking;   Nicotine Use Disorder;   Qt Interval, Variation in;   HIV I Infection;   Oxidative Stress;   InflammationInterventions:   Other: TCIG;   Other: ECIG;   Other: sham controlSponsors:   University of California, Los Angeles;   Tobacco Related Disease Research ProgramRecruiting

  • PACE Vape Messaging Study
    on June 29, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    Conditions:   Vaping;   E-cigarette Use;   Electronic Cigarette UseIntervention:   Behavioral: Vape Messaging InterventionSponsors:   University of Vermont;   National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)Recruiting

  • Families With Substance Use and Psychosis: A Pilot Study
    on February 26, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Conditions:   Psychosis;   Substance Use;   Substance Use Disorders;   Family;   Tobacco Use;   Nicotine Use Disorder;   Cigarette Smoking;   Vaping;   Cannabis;   Marijuana;   Alcohol Use Disorder;   Alcohol;   Schizophrenia;   Schizoaffective Disorder;   Bipolar Disorder;   Mental DisorderIntervention:   Behavioral: CRAFT-FTSponsors:   Mclean Hospital;   National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)Recruiting

  • Responses to E-Cigarette Advertising
    on January 30, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Condition:   E-Cig UseIntervention:   Other: Viewing e-cigarette adsSponsor:   Harvard School of Public HealthRecruiting

  • Pharmacokinetics, Subjective Effects, and Abuse Liability of Nicotine Salt-Based Vaping Products With Tobacco or Unflavored E-liquids, SALTVAPE Study
    on January 18, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Condition:   Nicotine DependenceInterventions:   Drug: Nicotine;   Device: Vaporizer DeviceSponsors:   Roswell Park Cancer Institute;   National Cancer Institute (NCI)Recruiting

  • Assisting Smokers to Switch to a JUUL E-Cigarette by Devaluing Combustible Cigarettes
    on December 5, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Conditions:   Smoking Cessation;   Harm Reduction;   E-Cig Use;   Cigarette Smoking;   Tobacco Dependence;   Tobacco Use CessationIntervention:   Other: JUULSponsors:   Rose Research Center, LLC;   Foundation for a Smoke-Free WorldRecruiting

  • Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Different Nicotine Salt Concentration Vape System Pods and Free-base Nicotine
    on November 20, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Condition:   Nicotine DependenceIntervention:   Other: standardized vaping protocolSponsors:   University Hospital Inselspital, Berne;   University of BernRecruiting

  • Assessment of Smoking, Vaping, and Alcohol Consumption Behavior
    on November 4, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Conditions:   Survey;   E-Cig Use;   Smoking Behaviors;   Alcohol Drinking;   Vaping;   Food IntakeIntervention:   Sponsor:   Pennington Biomedical Research CenterRecruiting

  • E-Cigarette Effects on Markers of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Disease
    on March 5, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Conditions:   Tobacco Use;   E-Cigarette Use;   Cardiovascular Diseases;   Pulmonary DiseaseInterventions:   Behavioral: Cigarettes;   Behavioral: E-CigarettesSponsors:   University of Wisconsin, Madison;   National Institutes of Health (NIH);   National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI);   University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and InterventionRecruiting

  • Short-Term Cardiovascular Effects of E-Cigarettes: Influence of Device Power
    on February 15, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Conditions:   Cardiovascular Risk Factor;   Nicotine DependenceIntervention:   Other: Electronic CigaretteSponsors:   University of California, San Francisco;   National Institutes of Health (NIH);   Food and Drug Administration (FDA);   National Cancer Institute (NCI)Recruiting

  • Investigating the Cardiovascular Toxicity of Exposure to Electronic Hookah Vaping
    on October 1, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Conditions:   Smoking;   Endothelial DysfunctionInterventions:   Other: Traditional hookah smoking;   Other: Electronic hookah inhalationSponsors:   University of California, Los Angeles;   National Institutes of Health (NIH);   National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)Recruiting

Conclusion

It is not yet known whether EVALI represents a widespread health risk that could affect millions of users or is isolated to certain products or practices. Whatever the case, thousands of people face severe health effects right now.

Today’s vaping clinical trials will be essential to the health of former and future e-cigarette users. Being aware of the potential risks of vaping – and making family and friends aware of those risks – is advisable as more information becomes available.