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Smoking and Vaping Largely Go Hand-in-Hand

Vaping has been touted as a way for smokers to kick the traditional cigarette habit but studies on the effectiveness of vaping as a stop smoking aid have been mixed. According to researchers from New Zealand, not only doesn’t vaping help people quit, it can actually act as a gateway to smoking for people who have never smoked before.

They reached that conclusion after analyzing data on smoking and vaping from surveys conducted between 2018 and 2020. While smoking decreased over those years and vaping increased, they found that in 2018, never-smokers who vaped were more likely to initiate smoking than those who already smoked were to switch to vaping.

The finding flipped in 2019, leading the investigators to conclude they saw no compelling evidence that vaping consistently kept people from smoking traditional cigarettes.

“Instead, we observed frequent transitions between smoking and vaping, and vice versa,” said study author Andre Mason, from the University of Otago. “While many individuals remained consistent with their reported behavior at previous time points, there were individuals who transitioned between both smoking and vaping.”

Mason believes vaping has become another smoking-related behavior on its own, and is just as likely to lead people to take up smoking as it is to lead them to quit.

The study was published by Drug and Alcohol Review. Read More

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Combination Treatment Thins Mucus in People with Most Common CF Mutation

A triple combination therapy comprised of elexacaftor, tezacaftor, and ivacaftor proved to be effective in thinning mucus found in the airways of people with the most common form of cystic fibrosis over the course of one year in a study conducted by European investigators publishing in the European Respiratory Journal.

The trial grew out of a previous study conducted two years ago by researchers from same group that showed the combination therapy was effective in this large portion of the CF population. The new study followed 79 patients for one year to see how the treatment would hold up over time. Results showed it continued to result in less viscous respiratory secretions and a decrease in inflammation and bacterial infections of the lungs.

“This is really important because previous medications caused a rebound in the bacterial load in the airways,” explained study author Dr. Simon Gräber, from the department of pediatric respiratory medicine, immunology, and critical care medicine at Charité.

The drug worked for those with the F508del genetic defect. About 90% of CF patients have that defect.

The researchers plan to continue to look for ways to make treatments for CF more effective, including starting treatment in early childhood to prevent chronic lung changes whenever possible. They also plan to address treatments for the 10% of CF patients who could not benefit from the triple combination therapy. Read More

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Higher Vitamin D Levels Up Survival in COPD

Can vitamin D help COPD patients survive longer? Researchers who looked at serum 25(OH)D measurements in 403,648 people in the UK Biobank who were free of COPD at baseline believe the answer may be yes.

Participants were divided into quintiles based on their serum 25(OH)D levels, then followed for a median of 12.3 years. During that time, 11,008 participants developed COPD and 2,773 of those participants died, 255 of them from COPD. The median survival time was 3.8 years.

The survival analyses revealed that cases in the lowest quintile of 25(OH)D levels had a 38% higher risk of overall death and a 57% higher risk of COPD-specific death. The finding held true even after it was adjusted to take other factors into account.

A lower risk of developing COPD was seen in people in the fourth 25(OH)D quintile when compared to those in the lowest quintile as well. The fourth quintile represented the typical vitamin D level seen in the UK population.

Overall, participants with increased 25(OH)D concentrations had higher economic standards, along with greater oily fish intake and use of vitamin D supplements. The proportion of prevalent asthma cases and current smokers was lower among those with higher 25(OH)D concentrations as well.

The investigators believe more study is needed to determine whether lower concentrations of vitamin D are causal or contributory to COPD risk. The study was published by BMJ Open Respiratory Research. Read More


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