Vaping warning as smoking e-cigarettes ‘could cause brittle bone disease’

Vaping could cause brittle bone disease, making users more vulnerable to fractures according to new research.

E-cigarettes have been pushed by the NHS as a safer alternative to smoking but scientists have found that while they are better for the lungs, users are prone to serious bone injury as a result.

The addictive chemical victotine has long been linked to bone condition osteoporosis but with it in both standard cigarettes and electric alternatives, a study has explored the extent of its worrying side effects.

Lead investigator Dr Dayawa Agoons laid out the stark warning.

He said: "To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the relationship between e-cigarette use and fragility fractures.

"It fills an important knowledge gap given the increasing popularity of e-cigarette use and the significant economic burden and known morbidity and mortality associated with osteoporotic fractures.

"Our findings provide data to inform researchers, healthcare policy makers, and tobacco regulators about the potential association of e-cigarette use with reduced bone health."

His team analysed the vaping history of 5,569 American men and women aged 20 to 80.

Participants were also asked if they had ever suffered a hip, wrist or spinal fracture from minor a minor fall – such as tripping over.

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The injuries were 46% more common in those who had ever used the devices – either currently or in the past.

Dr Agoons, of Pittsburgh University in Pennsylvania, USA, said: "In my outpatient clinic I saw a patient after surgery to repair a hip fracture.

"She was a smoker and used e-cigarettes as an aid to quit smoking.

"I realised there was a knowledge gap in the literature on the potential relationship between e-cigarettes and fragility fractures and decided to conduct this study."

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Since their introduction over a decade ago, e-cigs have become particularly popular among young people.

They come in a range of flavours and have been marketed as a healthier alternative to conventional smoking.

They contain a combination of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and variable levels of nicotine and additives.

Dr Agoons and colleagues identified a significantly higher rate of 'fragility fractures' among the 1,050 vapers.

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This was compared to the 4,519 other participants who had never used e-cigs.

There was also higher prevalence in those vapers and conventional smokers than only the latter.

The study, published in the American Journal of Medicine Open, suggests young e-cig users are increasing their risk of osteoporosis – decades later.

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