An interesting report on the website of the American Council on Science and Health. A new study asked the question: what exactly happens to the lungs when someone stops smoking and starts vaping? Here is the methodology and results:
The participants’ lung function (spirometry indices) as well as reported symptoms (coughing/phlegm, wheezing, chest pressure, and shortness of breath) were recorded at baseline and subsequent visits. The follow-up period was 1 year. At the end of the study period, the authors stratified the final participants into three groups based on their final smoking status:
- Quitters: completely abstained from smoking
- Reducers: cut back their daily cigarettes
- Failures: were unable to do either
When spirometry data was analyzed across the 3 groups, large airway function (FEV1, FVC, FEV1/FVC) was not impacted by smoking abstinence or reduction. What was seen, however, was significant improvement in small, peripheral airway function (FEF 25-75%) in those who completely quit smoking. This improvement was from 85.7±15.6% at baseline to 100.8±14.6% at 1 year, as a percentage what is predicted to be normal.
The most common symptoms reported by participants were cough/phlegm (43%), and shortness of breath (34.8%). At the end of the study period, there was progressive improvement, and eventually, complete resolution of these symptoms not only in the “quitter” but also the “reducer” group. This benefit was not realized by the “failure” group.
The study results suggest that completely abstaining from combustible cigarettes may benefit even healthy smokers reverse some subtle lung changes. In those struggling to quit smoking, even reducing exposure to daily cigarette smoke can have a measurable impact on quality of life.
Is the World Health Organisation listening? It should be. The evidence just keep mounting up that vaping is vastly better for your health, but don't expect to hear much of that at the COP7 conference in Delhi in November.