E-Cigarettes Reexamined: Product Toxicity

2022-09

The introduction of e-cigarettes, or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), has been accompanied by controversy regarding their safety and effectiveness as a cessation aid and by an explosion in their use by youth. Their use does not involve the combustion of tobacco and the creation of harmful combustion products; they have been seen as a “harm reduction” tool that may be of assistance in promoting smoking cessation. Recognition that ENDS can deliver an array of chemicals and materials with known adverse consequences has spurred more careful examination of these products. Nicotine, nitrosamines, carbonyl compounds, heavy metals, free radicals, reactive oxygen species, particulate matter, and “emerging chemicals of concern” are among the constituents of the heated chemical aerosol that is inhaled when ENDS are used. They raise concerns for cardiovascular and respiratory health that merit the attention of clinicians and regulatory agencies. Frequently cited concerns include evidence of disordered respiratory function, altered hemodynamics, endothelial dysfunction, vascular reactivity, and enhanced thrombogenesis. The absence of evidence of the consequences of their long-term use is of additional concern. Their effectiveness as cessation aids and beneficial impact on health outcomes continue to be examined. It is important to ensure that their production and availability are thoughtfully regulated to optimise their safety and permit their use as harm reduction devices and potentially as smoking-cessation aids. It is equally vital to effectively prevent them from becoming ubiquitous consumer products with the potential to rapidly induce nicotine addiction among large numbers of youth. Clinicians should understand the nature of these products and the implications of their use.

Authors: Andrew L Pipe, Hassan Mir
; Full Source: The Canadian journal of cardiology 2022 Sep;38(9):1395-1405. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2022.08.001.