- Participants who reported being diagnosed with an eating disorder are more likely to use e-cigarettes.
- Vaping and eating disorders can exacerbate physical health complications such as cardiovascular, pulmonary, and neurological problems.
The use of electronic cigarettes is not without consequences on health. In a recent study, published on September 11 in the journal Eating Behaviors, US researchers have suggested that this leads to an increased risk of developing an eating disorder in young adults.
For the study, the authors examined a sample of more than 51,000 American students across the study. Healthy Minds which took place between 2018 and 2019. Of these, 19% said they had used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days and 3.7% said they had an eating disorder, of which one in four were considered been at high risk for an eating disorder. This refers to a situation of anorexia nervosa, binge eating problems or even bulimia nervosa.
The researchers also found that participants who reported being diagnosed with an eating disorder were more likely to use e-cigarettes. “The higher prevalence of vaping in people with symptoms of eating disorders is of concern as it can exacerbate physical health complications such as cardiovascular, pulmonary and neurological problems.”, Continues Kyle T. Ganson, researcher at the University of Toronto and lead author of the study.
From vaping to nicotine
Researchers have also found that most vapers use nicotine vaping, especially in connection with eating disorders. “Nicotine vaping can be used by individuals to support eating disorder behaviors and goals, such as appetite suppression and catalysis of weight loss, says Kyle Ganson. Nicotine vaping can lead to addiction and future use of polysubstances.”
These findings are particularly important as eating disorders and substance use disorders increased during the pandemic. “Young people with eating or substance use problems should seek help from a healthcare professional, says Jason M. Nagata, co-author of the study. Clinicians should screen young people for eating disorders and substance use, especially during the pandemic.”