Vaping is linked to an increased risk of eating disorders, according to a new study.
How does vaping effect the health of young people? Researchers discovered a link between vaping and the risk of developing eating problems in a recent study involving college students.
According to the authors of a new study published in the journal Eating Behaviors, vaping is extremely common among college-aged persons. Despite evidence of a link between vaping and eating disorders, the researchers acknowledged that “there exist gaps in this understanding among college students.”
According to a news release from the University of Toronto, the researchers looked at data from nearly 51,000 college students in the United States who were a part of the 2018-2019 Healthy Minds Study. 19% of the participants said they had used vapes or e-cigarettes in the previous 30 days, 3.7 percent said they had ever been diagnosed with an eating disorder, and 25% said they were at “elevated risk” for an eating disorder. Anorexia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, and bulimia nervosa are examples of such disorders.
“Vaping or e-cigarette use was related with a self-reported lifetime eating disorder diagnosis and raised eating disorder risk across a large sample of college students,” the researchers concluded in their study.
In a news release, study lead author Kyle Y. Ganson, Ph.D., MSW from the University of Toronto said, “The higher prevalence of vaping among those with eating disorder symptoms is concerning given that the co-occurrence of these behaviors can exacerbate physical health complications such as cardiovascular, pulmonary, and neurological problems.”
The researchers also discovered that people who had been diagnosed with an eating disorder were more likely to use vapes or e-cigarettes, according to the university. Furthermore, among students who vaped or used e-cigarettes, nicotine vapes were claimed to be the most regularly utilized, raising worries about probable addiction.
In a news release, research co-author Jason M. Nagata, M.D., MSc of the University of California, San Francisco, said, “The study’s findings are especially pertinent as we have seen an increase in referrals for eating disorders and substance use disorders throughout the epidemic.”
For example, following data from the National Eating Disorders Association showed a “steep surge” in eating disorders and unhealthy eating behaviors among young people since the COVID-19 pandemic began in July, social media site Pinterest restricted content featuring weight loss language and imagery.
“Young individuals who are having problems with their eating or substance usage should seek medical care. “Especially during the epidemic, clinicians should check young individuals for disordered eating and substance use,” Nagata said.