Introduction: Smoking is known to have a long-term impact on lung function; however, the acute physiological response of smoking a single cigarette and the influential role of pack years and cigarettes per day on pulmonary indices remains an area of interest, especially among young smokers.
Methods: 50 naive smokers (ages: 18-26, 24 males: mean pack years 3.8) participated in this experimental study. Respiratory resistance (R), reactance (X), and impedance (Z) were assessed through impulse oscillometry. The participants' fraction of exhaled nitric oxide (FENO) was measured. All tests were performed immediately before and after smoking one single cigarette.
Results: Smoking a single cigarette was found to immediately increase airway impedance (Z 5 Hz) by 0.024 kPa/(L/s) (P = .002), airway resistance at R 5 Hz, R 10 Hz, and R 20 Hz by 0.024 kPa/(L/s)(P < .001), 0.016 kPa/(L/s)(P = .019), and 0.023 kPa/(L/s) (P = .007), respectively, after adjusting for BMI, age, gender, and pack years. FENO concentrations also decreased from 11.70 ppb to 9.85 ppb, P < .001. Sensitivity analyses indicated that the participants' number of pack years and cigarettes per day influenced pulmonary reactance at 10 Hz and 20 Hz, however only at baseline with these differences found to disappear immediately after smoking.
Conclusions: The present study indicates that the consumption of a single cigarette may alter lung mechanics and FENO production among young smokers. Further research is needed to assess the mechanisms and washout period after which these parameters return to normal.