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.

  • Adolescent Vaping Characterization and Parent Views on Adolescent Vaping Protocol
    on January 3, 2023 at 5:00 pm

    Conditions:   Healthy Volunteers;   Vaping TeensIntervention:   Sponsor:   National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)Recruiting

  • Pulmonary and Cardiac Effects of E-Cigarette Use in Pulmonary Patients Who Smoke Cigarettes
    on November 9, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    Conditions:   Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease;   Chronic Bronchitis;   Emphysema;   Asthma-COPD Overlap SyndromeInterventions:   Other: E-Cigarette;   Behavioral: Financial IncentivesSponsors:   University of Vermont;   National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)Recruiting

  • Impact of New Standards for Tobacco Products Among Dual E-Cigarette/Combusted Cigarette Users - Project 2
    on July 26, 2022 at 4:00 pm

    Conditions:   Smoking;   Smoking, Cigarette;   E-Cig Use;   Nicotine DependenceInterventions:   Other: very low nicotine content cigarettes;   Other: normal nicotine content cigarettes;   Other: Study e-cigaretteSponsors:   Duke University;   National Institutes of Health (NIH);   National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)Recruiting

  • Evaluating E-Cigarette Nicotine Form, Concentration, and Flavors Among Youth
    on July 14, 2022 at 4:00 pm

    Condition:   E-cigarette UseInterventions:   Other: ECIG lab session 1;   Other: ECIG lab session 2;   Other: ECIG lab session 3;   Other: ECIG lab session 4;   Other: ECIG lab session 5;   Other: ECIG lab session 6;   Other: ECIG lab session 7;   Other: ECIG lab session 8Sponsor:   Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer CenterRecruiting

  • Early Detection of Vaping-related Vascular Diseases
    on July 12, 2022 at 4:00 pm

    Conditions:   Vaping;   Blood Vessel InjuryIntervention:   Sponsors:   University of Miami;   Florida Department of HealthRecruiting

  • Assess the Influence of Nicotine Flux and Nicotine Form on Subjective Effects Related to Dependency
    on June 24, 2022 at 4:00 pm

    Conditions:   Nicotine Vaping;   Nicotine Dependence;   Nicotine AddictionInterventions:   Combination Product: e-liquid 1;   Combination Product: e-liquid 2;   Combination Product: e-liquid 3;   Combination Product: e-liquid 4;   Combination Product: e-liquid 5Sponsors:   American University of Beirut Medical Center;   National Institutes of Health (NIH);   National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)Recruiting

  • Varenicline for Nicotine Vaping Cessation in Adolescents
    on May 10, 2022 at 4:00 pm

    Conditions:   Vaping;   Nicotine DependenceInterventions:   Drug: Double Blind Varenicline;   Drug: Double Blind Placebo;   Behavioral: QuitVaping;   Behavioral: This Is QuittingSponsors:   Massachusetts General Hospital;   National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)Recruiting

  • Cytisine and E-cigarettes With Supportive Text-messaging for Smoking Cessation (Cess@Tion)
    on April 5, 2022 at 4:00 pm

    Condition:   Smoking CessationInterventions:   Drug: Cytisine;   Drug: Nicotine delivered via an e-cigarette;   Combination Product: Cytisine plus nicotine delivered via an e-cigaretteSponsor:   University of Auckland, New ZealandRecruiting

  • Dual Use of ENDS and Combustible Cigarettes
    on March 15, 2022 at 4:00 pm

    Conditions:   Smoking, Cigarette;   Electronic Cigarette UseInterventions:   Behavioral: Cue Reactivity Task;   Behavioral: Computerized Visual Dot Probe;   Behavioral: Choice TaskSponsors:   Brown University;   National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)Recruiting

  • E-cigarettes for Harm Reduction in Adults With Asthma
    on March 14, 2022 at 4:00 pm

    Conditions:   Smoking;   Asthma;   Electronic Cigarette Use;   Cigarette SmokingIntervention:   Other: NicotineSponsors:   Brown University;   National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)Recruiting

  • Water Content in E-Liquids
    on February 25, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    Condition:   Nicotine E-Cigarette UseInterventions:   Other: Water Concentration 1;   Other: Water Concentration 2;   Other: Water Concentration 3;   Other: Water Concentration 4Sponsors:   Yale University;   National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)Recruiting

  • Understanding the Impact of Cartridge-Based Electronic Cigarettes and Generated Aerosols on Cardiopulmonary Health
    on January 20, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    Condition:   E-Cig UseInterventions:   Other: Tobacco flavored liquid type 1;   Other: Tobacco flavored liquid type 2Sponsor:   Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRecruiting

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.