Keith, R., & Bhatnagar, A. (2021). Cardiorespiratory and Immunologic Effects of Electronic Cigarettes. Current addiction reports, 1–11. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-021-00359-7
Purpose of Review
Although e-cigarettes have become popular, especially among youth, the health effects associated with e-cigarette use remain unclear. This review discusses current evidence relating to the cardiovascular, pulmonary, and immunological effects of e-cigarettes.
The use of e-cigarettes by healthy adults has been shown to increase blood pressure, heart rate, and arterial stiffness, as well as resistance to air flow in lungs. Inhalation of e-cigarette aerosol has been shown to elicit immune responses and increase the production of immunomodulatory cytokines in young tobacco-naïve individuals. In animal models, long-term exposure to e-cigarettes leads to marked changes in lung architecture, dysregulation of immune genes, and low-grade inflammation. Exposure to e-cigarette aerosols in mice has been shown to induce DNA damage, inhibit DNA repair, and promote carcinogenesis. Chronic exposure to e-cigarettes has also been reported to result in the accumulation of lipid-laden macrophages in the lung and dysregulation of lipid metabolism and transport in mice. Although, the genotoxic and inflammatory effects of e-cigarettes are milder than those of combustible cigarettes, some of the cardiorespiratory effects of the two insults are comparable. The toxicity of e-cigarettes has been variably linked to nicotine, as well as other e-cigarette constituents, operating conditions, and use patterns.
The use of e-cigarettes in humans is associated with significant adverse cardiorespiratory and immunological changes. Data from animal models and in vitro studies support the notion that long-term use of e-cigarettes may pose significant health risks.