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Can Vaping Cause COPD? 

Can Vaping Cause COPD?

You know cigarettes and COPD are a bad combo. You tried to quit but could not stick to it, so now you are looking into electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes or vaping.) While they might help you kick your tobacco habit, are they any safer? Although there is still much to be discovered when it comes to the long-term effects of vaping, they are still not a safe choice for people with lung problems like COPD. Today, Banyan’s Heartland Treatment Center is looking into whether vaping can cause COPD and the signs to look out for. 

What Is COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)? 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that obstructs airflow in the lungs, making breathing difficult. COPD is usually caused by long-term exposure to irritating gasses like cigarette smoke. People with COPD are more likely to develop heart disease, lung cancer, and a variety of other diseases. 

Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are two conditions that are most linked to COPD. They often co-occur and can produce more severe symptoms in people with COPD. Emphysema is when the air sacs (alveoli) at the end of small air passages in the lungs (bronchioles) are destroyed because of exposure to toxic and damaging gasses like those in cigarette smoke. 

Chronic bronchitis produces inflammation of the bronchial tube lining, which carries air to and from the alveoli. Symptoms like heavy coughing and mucus production mark this condition. Both conditions may co-occur with each other as well as with COPD. 

What Does COPD Feel Like? 

COPD symptoms do not usually occur until considerable damage is already done. They also tend to worsen over time, especially if the person continues to smoke or expose themselves to harmful gases. 

Common symptoms of COPD include: 

  • Shortness of breath, especially during physical activity 
  • Wheezing 
  • Chest tightness 
  • A chronic cough 
  • Mucus production (sputum) that may be clear, white, yellow, or greenish 
  • Frequent respiratory infections 
  • Lack of energy 
  • Unintentional weight loss 
  • Swelling in ankles, feet, or legs 
  • Increased risk of other lung diseases, such as bronchitis and emphysema 

People with COPD may also experience episodes called exacerbations of flare-ups. COPD flare-up symptoms are usually worse than average symptoms and usually persist for several days. In addition to coughing and difficulty breathing, symptoms of COPD flare-up may include fatigue, fever, scratchy throat, confusion, and drowsiness. 

It is important to seek out treatment and stick to your treatment plan to keep symptoms under control and prevent flare-ups. 

Does Vaping Cause COPD? 

Yes, you can get COPD from vaping. Tobacco smoke contains hundreds of harmful chemicals that can lead to COPD and worsen symptoms. Although e-cigarettes and vape pens are advertised as safer alternatives to the real thing, this is not true. When you vape, you inhale aerosol (mist) instead of smoke, but this can still produce the same inflammation in the lungs as cigarette smoke. 

Vape pen cartridges also contain other chemicals that you would not want in your body, including nicotine, diacetyl, lead, tin, nickel, and tiny particles that work their way into your lungs. Diacetyl is a buttery flavoring that causes scarring in the tiny air sacs in your lungs and narrows your airways. It is known for producing popcorn lung, which produces symptoms like those of COPD. 

A recent study on vaping and lung disease found that of 705,159 participants, current e-cigarette use was associated with 75% higher odds of chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease compared with users who never smoked e-cigarettes. Daily e-cigarette users had the highest odds of developing these conditions than any other participants.1 

Secondhand vape smoke is also dangerous to inhale and can lead to long-term effects on the lungs. Despite the repercussions, some people still disregard that vaping with COPD is extremely risky. People with this condition should avoid smoking and exposure to cigarettes and vape pens, as both smoke and mist can worsen their symptoms and overall condition. 

Can Vaping Cause Bronchitis?

An increasing amount of research points to a connection between vaping and COPD, a lung illness that progresses over time and includes bronchitis. Nicotine and flavorings are among the many chemicals found in the heated vapor that e-cigarettes emit, and these substances can irritate the respiratory system. This inflammation may contribute to the onset or worsening of COPD in addition to bronchitis. Moreover, inhaling these compounds may impair the bronchial tubes' normal function, increasing the risk of respiratory illnesses like bronchitis from vaping.

The connection between vaping and respiratory problems is becoming more and more clear by the day. Inhaling chemicals and tiny particles during vaping might irritate the airways, which may worsen chronic respiratory diseases, including bronchitis and COPD. People must acknowledge these potential concerns to make well-informed decisions regarding their health. To fully comprehend the complex association between vaping and respiratory illnesses, including the precise processes that may contribute to vaping-induced bronchitis and the wider range of respiratory disorders, more research into the long-term impacts of vaping is needed.

Can Your Lungs Heal From Vaping?

Numerous variables, such as the length and intensity of vaping as well as the person's general health, affect the lungs' capacity to repair itself after suffering from COPD from vaping. It is important to understand that there is still much to learn about the long-term consequences of vaping on lung health, even though some improvements may be feasible.

These improvements can include:

  • Reduction in inflammation: When exposure to e-cigarette aerosols ends, there may be a decrease in the inflammatory response that vaping has triggered. This decrease in inflammation is a start in the right direction for lung recovery.
  • Improved respiratory function: Research indicates that people who give up vaping may eventually see benefits in their ability to breathe, including more lung capacity and improved airflow.
  • Risk reduction for respiratory infections: Quitting vaping may help reduce the chance of developing pneumonia and bronchitis, allowing the lungs to heal and perform better.

While some recovery is plausible, it's important to note that the extent of healing varies among individuals. The duration of vaping, the presence of pre-existing lung disorders, and general health all play important roles in the healing process. For individualized advice and assistance, anyone who is worried about their lung health should speak with medical professionals.

Are You Addicted to Vaping? 

In addition to long-term effects like lung disease, the nicotine in vape pens is also addictive. Nicotine and tobacco products are considered common gateway drugs, often opening the doorway to other forms of substance abuse. If you or a loved one has developed a smoking habit or become addicted to other drugs or alcohol, our Illinois rehabs can help. 

Not only do we offer medically monitored Heartland detox to mitigate withdrawal symptoms from different drugs, but our facility also offers substance-specific treatment programs where patients can receive step-by-step guidance on how to develop a lifestyle that is conducive to their sobriety. 

No matter how long your addiction has lasted, our rehab can help. Call Banyan Treatment Centers Heartland today at 888-280-4763 to learn more about our inpatient Illinois addiction treatment



  1. American Journal of Preventive Medicine - Association Between E-Cigarette Use and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease by Smoking Status: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 2016 and 2017
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Can Vaping Cause COPD? 
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