Can Asthmatics Vape Safely? What You Need to Know

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Can Asthmatics Vape Safely? What You Need to Know

Can Asthmatics Vape Safely? What You Need to Know

In the US and UK, a significant proportion of individuals with asthma, approximately 17-35%, are smokers. This statistic is notable given the well-documented risks of smoking exacerbating asthma symptoms. For many in this group, quitting smoking is a high priority, and vaping emerges as a potential alternative. This article delves into the critical considerations for asthmatics contemplating vaping as a smoking cessation method. We’ll address common questions regarding vaping’s impact on asthma and discuss the implications of passive smoking. Our goal is to provide you with comprehensive insights, enabling you to make an informed decision about using vaping as a tool to quit smoking.


Key Takeaways

  • Vaping as a Smoking Cessation Aid: For asthmatics seeking to quit smoking, vaping presents a less harmful alternative, though it comes with its own set of considerations.
  • Evaluating the Impact on Asthma: It’s crucial for asthmatics to understand how vaping might influence their asthma symptoms, with an emphasis on selecting the right vaping products and techniques.
  • Navigating Passive Smoking Concerns: Understanding the effects of passive vaping, especially around vulnerable groups like children with asthma, is essential. The article provides guidance on how to vape responsibly to minimise the risk of triggering asthma attacks in others.


Vaping vs. Smoking: A Comparative Analysis for Asthmatics

The debate between vaping and smoking, especially for asthmatics, is crucial in understanding the potential health implications of both. Asthma, a chronic respiratory condition, can be significantly impacted by inhaled substances, including smoke and vapour. This section provides an in-depth comparative analysis of how vaping and smoking differently affect asthma, supported by statistics and studies.


Impact on Lung Function

Smoking cigarettes has long been known to exacerbate asthma symptoms. The smoke from cigarettes contains a mix of over 7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic and can trigger asthma attacks. According to the CDC, smoking can damage the airways and the small air sacs in the lungs, leading to severe asthma complications.

In contrast, vaping, which involves inhaling vapour from e-cigarette devices, is generally considered less harmful. A study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine indicated that transitioning from smoking to vaping could lead to an improvement in lung function and respiratory symptoms among asthmatic smokers. However, it’s essential to note that vaping is not without risks. The vapor from e-cigarettes, though less harmful than cigarette smoke, can still contain substances that irritate the lungs and airways.


Long-Term Effects

The long-term effects of smoking on asthmatics include an increased risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and a higher likelihood of frequent asthma attacks. Smoking can also lead to a faster decline in lung function over time in asthmatic individuals.

Vaping, being a relatively new phenomenon, has less long-term data available. However, early studies suggest that while vaping is less harmful than smoking, it is not entirely risk-free. A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reported that exposure to certain vaping liquids could trigger an inflammatory response in the lungs, which could exacerbate asthma symptoms over time.


Statistical Comparison

Statistics reveal a telling story. A survey conducted by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America found that asthmatic individuals who smoked were more likely to have uncontrolled asthma symptoms compared to non-smokers. Another study highlighted that smokers with asthma were more likely to visit emergency rooms and require hospitalization.

Conversely, a study by Public Health England found that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking. For asthmatics who struggle to quit smoking, vaping can be a step towards reducing the harmful impact on their lungs. However, the best option for asthmatics remains complete abstinence from both smoking and vaping.



In conclusion, for asthmatics, the choice between vaping and smoking is clear in terms of relative harm. Vaping emerges as the lesser of two evils but is not without its drawbacks. Asthmatics considering vaping as a smoking cessation tool should do so under medical guidance and remain aware of the potential impact on their condition. Continuous research and long-term studies are crucial in fully understanding the implications of vaping for asthmatics.


Is Vaping Safe for Asthmatics?

Vaping is considered to be a safer option than smoking traditional cigarettes. However, it can still irritate the lungs and airways, which can trigger asthma symptoms. People with asthma should be cautious when considering vaping as a smoking cessation tool. According to Asthma UK, “smoke or any substance in the air can trigger symptoms.”

Although some people have reported a decrease in inhaler usage and attacks after quitting smoking and switching to vaping, research is still ongoing regarding how vaping affects the lungs of someone with asthma.

In conclusion, while vaping may be a safer option for smokers, people with asthma should be cautious when considering vaping as a smoking cessation tool. Vaping can still trigger asthma symptoms, and the long-term effects of vaping are still unknown.


Can asthma be trigged by second-hand vapour?

Passive vaping, also known as secondhand exposure to vapor, can have an impact on people with asthma. Although Public Health England’s review in 2018 found no identified health risks of passive vaping, a 2019 study found that teenagers with asthma who were exposed to passive vapor were 27% more likely to report an asthma attack compared to those who had no exposure. This suggests that passive vaping could be a trigger for asthma attacks in some individuals.

If someone with asthma lives with a vaper, it is best to vape out of their way. Vaping outside or in another room with ventilation can be helpful. Using a smaller device that produces less vapor can also be considered.


Making the Switch: Asthma and Vaping Personal Accounts

An asthmatic ex-smoker and ex-vaper shared his experience of how smoking and vaping affected his symptoms. He found that smoking made his asthma much worse and triggered wheezing and chesty coughs. After quitting cigarettes, his symptoms improved significantly.

When he started vaping, he used an MTL kit with small throat hits and avoided cloud chasing. While he experienced no significant aggravation of his asthma symptoms, he found that menthol and ice liquid made him wheezy. He also reported a significant decrease in his inhaler use compared to when he was smoking.

It is important to note that every individual’s experience with vaping and asthma may differ. However, this real-life story highlights the potential benefits of switching from smoking to vaping for people with asthma.


Vaping Techniques and Asthma Management

For asthmatics considering vaping, either as a smoking cessation tool or as a recreational activity, understanding the right vaping techniques and choosing suitable devices and e-liquids is essential. This section offers advice on vaping techniques more suitable for asthmatics and discusses the importance of device choice, e-liquid selection, and vaping style.


Device Choice

The type of vaping device plays a significant role in how it affects an asthmatic individual. Devices that produce a large amount of vapor, such as box mods or sub-ohm devices, might be more likely to trigger asthma symptoms due to the increased inhalation of vapor. In contrast, smaller devices like pod systems or mouth-to-lung (MTL) devices produce less vapour, which could be less irritating for the airways.


E-Liquid Selection

The choice of e-liquid is crucial for asthmatics. E-liquids with high levels of propylene glycol (PG) can be more irritating to the throat and lungs compared to those with a higher vegetable glycerin (VG) content. Asthmatics should consider e-liquids with a higher VG to PG ratio. Additionally, avoiding e-liquids with known irritants or allergens, such as certain artificial flavourings, can help in managing asthma symptoms.


Vaping Style

The way in which vaping is done can also impact asthma. Direct-to-lung (DTL) vaping involves inhaling the vapor straight into the lungs, which could be more irritating for asthmatics. On the other hand, MTL vaping, which mimics the inhalation style of smoking a cigarette, can be gentler as the vapor first enters the mouth before being inhaled into the lungs.


Nicotine Content

Nicotine can affect the airways and could potentially exacerbate asthma symptoms. Asthmatics should be cautious with the nicotine strength in their e-liquids. Opting for lower nicotine concentrations or nicotine-free e-liquids could be a safer choice.


Hydration and Vaping

Vaping can lead to dry mouth, which can be uncomfortable for asthmatics. Staying hydrated is essential. Drinking plenty of water can help mitigate the drying effects of vaping and support overall respiratory health.


Personalised Approach

Every asthmatic’s reaction to vaping can be different. What works for one individual may not work for another. It’s important for asthmatics to monitor their symptoms and make adjustments to their vaping habits as needed. Consulting with a healthcare professional can provide personalised advice and support.



In summary, asthmatics who choose to vape should do so with caution. Selecting the right device, appropriate e-liquid, and suitable vaping style are important steps in managing their condition. Vaping should be approached as one part of a comprehensive asthma management plan, which includes regular consultation with healthcare providers and adherence to prescribed asthma treatments.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Is vaping a better alternative to smoking for asthmatics?

Vaping is often seen as a preferable alternative to smoking, especially for individuals with asthma. While the long-term effects are still being studied, vaping generally produces fewer irritants than traditional smoking, potentially reducing the risk of exacerbating asthma symptoms.

Can vaping be managed to avoid aggravating asthma symptoms?

With careful management, vaping can be less likely to aggravate asthma symptoms compared to traditional smoking. Choosing the right type of vape liquid and device, and vaping in moderation, may help minimise irritation to the airways.

What precautions should be taken when vaping near children with asthma?

When vaping around children with asthma, it's important to be mindful. Using vaping products in well-ventilated areas or away from children can help reduce their exposure to vapor, thereby minimising the risk of triggering asthma symptoms.

Can I vape after using an asthma inhaler?

Generally, it's safe to vape after using asthma inhaler medication. However, it's advisable to consult your healthcare provider for personalised advice, as they can offer guidance based on your specific asthma condition and vaping habits.

Does the nicotine in vapes affect asthma?

While nicotine can be a stimulant that may affect breathing, using lower nicotine or nicotine-free vape products may reduce the risk of impacting asthma. Always consider your personal tolerance and consult with a healthcare provider for advice tailored to your needs.

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