Quantifying the effects of e-cigarette use on lung health in young adults

Measurement of the Lung Function Index to study the health effects of e-Cigarette use by adolescents.


The prevalence of e-cigarette use (vaping) has increased in recent years, especially amongst adolescents. Although e-cigarettes do not contain the same chemicals found in traditional cigarettes, it is not clear whether breathing the chemicals in e-cigarette liquids is safe. Recent studies have found that e-cigarette use is associated with an increased risk of respiratory diseases, even when used without traditional cigarette smoking. Around 37% of adolescents in Nova Scotia have tried e-cigarettes, which is significantly higher than the Canadian average.


This study focuses on youth and aims to: 1) investigate if vaping impairs lung function, specifically ventilation inhomogeneity; and 2) determine the feasibility and design of a future larger-scale, cross-node population-based study investigating the effects of vaping on lung growth and development.


The Multiple Breath Washout (MBW) will be used to determine whether youth who vape nicotine have lung damage compared to the controls who do not vape nicotine and who do not smoke traditional cigarettes. The MBW is an easy-to-perform test that measures how efficiently an individual’s lungs work. The main outcome is the lung clearance index (LCI) which has been shown to identify early signs of lung disease, specifically in the small airways. While not previously used to study e-cigarette use, we hypothesize that the LCI can identify early-stage lung damage and provide urgently needed objective evidence of potentially deleterious effects of e-cigarette use. In the first phase of the study young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 are eligible to participate if they vape, and do not have a history of lung disease. In the second stage we will expand the eligibility criteria to include adolescents between the ages of 16 and 18.




For more information on this study, please contact: hlungs@dal.ca or  sanja.stanojevic@dal