E-smoking: Emerging public health problem?

Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2017 May 8;30(3):329-344. doi: 10.13075/ijomeh.1896.01046. Epub 2017 Mar 10.


E-cigarette use has become increasingly popular, especially among the young. Its long-term influence upon health is unknown. Aim of this review has been to present the current state of knowledge about the impact of e-cigarette use on health, with an emphasis on Central and Eastern Europe. During the preparation of this narrative review, the literature on e-cigarettes available within the network PubMed was retrieved and examined. In the final review, 64 research papers were included. We specifically assessed the construction and operation of the e-cigarette as well as the chemical composition of the e-liquid; the impact that vapor arising from the use of e-cigarette explored in experimental models in vitro; and short-term effects of use of e-cigarettes on users' health. Among the substances inhaled by the e-smoker, there are several harmful products, such as: formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acroleine, propanal, nicotine, acetone, o-methyl-benzaldehyde, carcinogenic nitrosamines. Results from experimental animal studies indicate the negative impact of e-cigarette exposure on test models, such as ascytotoxicity, oxidative stress, inflammation, airway hyper reactivity, airway remodeling, mucin production, apoptosis, and emphysematous changes. The short-term impact of e-cigarettes on human health has been studied mostly in experimental setting. Available evidence shows that the use of e-cigarettes may result in acute lung function responses (e.g., increase in impedance, peripheral airway flow resistance) and induce oxidative stress. Based on the current available evidence, e-cigarette use is associated with harmful biologic responses, although it may be less harmful than traditional cigarettes. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2017;30(3):329-344.

Keywords: e-cigarette; electronic cigarette; literature review; nicotine; smoking; tobacco products.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols / adverse effects
  • Aerosols / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / adverse effects*
  • Europe
  • Hazardous Substances
  • Humans
  • Public Health


  • Aerosols
  • Hazardous Substances