Short halt in vaping modifies cardiorespiratory parameters and urine metabolome: a randomized trial

Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2020 Feb 1;318(2):L331-L344. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.00268.2019. Epub 2019 Nov 13.


Propylene glycol and glycerol are e-cigarette constituents that facilitate liquid vaporization and nicotine transport. As these small hydrophilic molecules quickly cross the lung epithelium, we hypothesized that short-term cessation of vaping in regular users would completely clear aerosol deposit from the lungs and reverse vaping-induced cardiorespiratory toxicity. We aimed to assess the acute effects of vaping and their reversibility on biological/clinical cardiorespiratory parameters [serum/urine pneumoproteins, hemodynamic parameters, lung-function test and diffusing capacities, transcutaneous gas tensions (primary outcome), and skin microcirculatory blood flow]. Regular e-cigarette users were enrolled in this randomized, investigator-blinded, three-period crossover study. The periods consisted of nicotine-vaping (nicotine-session), nicotine-free vaping (nicotine-free-session), and complete cessation of vaping (stop-session), all maintained for 5 days before the session began. Multiparametric metabolomic analyses were used to verify subjects' protocol compliance. Biological/clinical cardiorespiratory parameters were assessed at the beginning of each session (baseline) and after acute vaping exposure. Compared with the nicotine- and nicotine-free-sessions, a specific metabolomic signature characterized the stop-session. Baseline serum club cell protein-16 was higher during the stop-session than the other sessions (P < 0.01), and heart rate was higher in the nicotine-session (P < 0.001). Compared with acute sham-vaping in the stop-session, acute nicotine-vaping (nicotine-session) and acute nicotine-free vaping (nicotine-free-session) slightly decreased skin oxygen tension (P < 0.05). In regular e-cigarette-users, short-term vaping cessation seemed to shift baseline urine metabolome and increased serum club cell protein-16 concentration, suggesting a decrease in lung inflammation. Additionally, acute vaping with and without nicotine decreased slightly transcutaneous oxygen tension, likely as a result of lung gas exchanges disturbances.

Keywords: electronic nicotine delivery systems; metabolomics; nicotine; pneumoproteins; transcutaneous oxygen tension.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Blood Pressure
  • Diffusion
  • Discriminant Analysis
  • Heart / physiopathology*
  • Heart Rate
  • Hemodynamics
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Lung Injury / blood
  • Lung Injury / pathology
  • Lung Injury / urine
  • Metabolome*
  • Microcirculation
  • Nicotine / blood
  • Oximetry
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Partial Pressure
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Respiration*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Skin / blood supply
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Vaping / blood
  • Vaping / metabolism*
  • Vaping / physiopathology
  • Vaping / urine*


  • Biomarkers
  • Hemoglobins
  • Nicotine
  • Oxygen