Adolescents Who Use E-Cigarettes, Marijuana May Have Higher Odds of Lifetime Asthma

This article is part of Pulmonology Advisor’s coverage of the American Thoracic Society Virtual 2020 meeting.

Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use is associated with lifetime asthma in US adolescents, and may become more damaging when combined with marijuana or cigarette smoking, according to study results presented virtually by the American Thoracic Society 2020 Virtual meeting, held August 5 to 10, 2020. 

E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used nicotine products among adolescents in the United States. These products often contain nicotine, flavoring, and other chemicals. Little is known about the combination of e-cigarettes and marijuana use or cigarette smoking. Therefore, researchers examined whether e-cigarette use combined with marijuana or cigarette smoking could increase the risk for lifetime asthma.

This cross-sectional study comprised 21,532 middle and high school students (5222 with lifetime asthma and 16,310 control individuals), with ages ranging between 12 and 18 years. The students participated in the 2015 and 2017 National Youth Risk Behavior Study (YRBS). Researchers used the self-administered questionnaires to collect information on demographic characteristics, asthma, and use of nicotine vapor products alone or in combination with marijuana use/cigarette smoking.

Frequent use of e-cigarettes, marijuana, and cigarette smoking were associated with a 23% to 68% increase in lifetime asthma odds. In addition, e-cigarette use was associated with 1.31 times increased odds of lifetime asthma (95% CI, 1.11-1.54). The combination of e-cigarette use and marijuana use was more frequently associated with lifetime asthma than e-cigarette use alone.

According to the researchers, these results indicate that continued research is necessary to determine the damaging effects from the dangerous use of electronic cigarettes in adolescents.


Han Y, Rosser FJ, Forno E, Celedon JC. Electronic vapor products, marijuana use, smoking and asthma in US adolescents. Presented at: American Thoracic Society 2020 Virtual; August 5-10, 2020. Session A17. 

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