One Acute Exposure to E-Cigarette Smoke Using Various Heating Elements and Power Levels Induces Pulmonary Inflammation

Jianru Shi, Wangde Dai, Jesus Chavez, Juan Carreno, Lifu Zhao, Michael T. Kleinman, Rebecca J. Arechavala, Irene Hasen, Amanda Ting, Bishop Bliss, Jessica E. Monterrosa Mena, Robert A. Kloner


Background: Electronic cigarettes (eC) may not be entirely benign. There is a lack of data on the effect of a single acute exposure of eC vapor using various heating sources and power settings upon lung injury. The purpose of this study was to determine if an acute exposure with eC vapor heated with different heating elements and power levels induced inflammatory changes in the lungs and heart.

Methods: Rats were exposed to pure air or received a single, 4-h exposure to eC vapor. The devices used either a stainless steel (SS) or nichrome (NC) heating element randomized to a low or high atomization power (45 versus 70 W). Rats were euthanized within 48 h of exposure.

Results: The eC groups showed accumulation of inflammatory cells in bronchial lumen, near the pleura, and within the alveolar spaces. The numbers of inflammatory cells per field in the lung parenchyma were significantly greater in the rats exposed to eC groups vs. the air group. There were significantly higher inflammatory gene expression changes in the lungs of animals assigned to 70 W power. We observed that eC vapor generated using burnt coils were toxic and could cause acute respiratory distress and myocarditis.

Conclusion: In conclusion, one 4-h exposure to eC vapor, in the absence of vitamin E oil or nicotine, significantly increased lung inflammation. Effects were seen after exposures to vapor generated using SS and NC heating elements at either high or low power. Vapor from devices with burnt coils can negatively affect the heart and lung.

Cardiol Res. 2022;13(6):323-332


E-cigarette; Lung inflammation; Vaping; Burnt coil

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