The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, surveyed 32,000 American adults between 2013 and 2016 who had no signs of lung disease when the study began.
Scientists found that those who used e-cigarettes were 1.3 times more likely to develop chronic lung diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
For people who used both e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes, the risk nearly tripled. Senior author Stanton Glatz, a University of California San Francisco professor of medicine, noted that many smokers did not abandon conventional cigarettes when they began using e-cigarettes.
But the study noted that even for those who switched completely to vaping, risks were still apparent in just three years of use.
Last month, the World Health Organization called for stricter regulations on the marketing and sale of e-cigarettes as more information comes to light about the potentially harmful impact of these products.
Health officials are increasingly worried about the risks posed by e-cigarettes as reported cases of deaths and illnesses from the devices spread from the United States to Europe and beyond. They see the recent death of a young man in Belgium and reports of vaping-related illnesses in the Philippines and other countries as a call to action.