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U.S. Army soldiers who regularly vaped had a lower level of fitness than those who abstained from smoking the popular electronic cigarettes, according to a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Researchers looked at 2-mile run times and the number of pushups and situps that 2,854 male soldiers could do to gauge their levels of fitness. They found that vapers, on average, took 27 seconds longer to complete the 2-mile run compared to non-vapers and could do 4.5 and 2 fewer pushups and situps, respectively.
Somewhat surprisingly, tobacco smokers fared slightly better than vapers. Their average 2-mile run time was only eight seconds longer than non-smokers, which pokes a hole in the vaping industry’s claim that it’s a healthier alternative to tobacco cigarettes.
In news that probably shocked nobody, those who smoked both tobacco and e-cigarettes fared the worst. Their average run time was 32 seconds slower than non-smokers, and they could do five and four fewer pushups and situps, respectively, than non-smokers.
And while the news that vaping decreases your fitness levels isn’t good, it’s not nearly as worrying as the findings of a separate study in the same journal that concluded vapers were at a much higher risk of developing chronic lung diseases such as asthma and bronchitis than non-smokers. Those who smoked both cigarettes and vapes—the most common use pattern—were at the highest risk.
That’s because, according to the study, vaping inhibits the body’s immune system from working at its optimal levels. And while the disease risk isn’t quite as high as it is for people who smoke combustible cigarettes, researchers found that many people who vape also smoke cigarettes.
And in a final blow to the vaping industry, the second study also found e-cigarette users did not have an easier time giving up nicotine altogether, despite such claims from e-cigarette makers.