Harmful Chemicals Emitted From Electronic Cigarettes and Potential Deleterious Effects in the Oral Cavity

Tob Induc Dis. 2020 May 8;18:41. doi: 10.18332/tid/116988. eCollection 2020.

Abstract

Use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), such as electronic cigarettes (e-cigs), is increasing across the US population and is particularly troubling due to their adoption by adolescents, teens, and young adults. The industry's marketing approach for these instruments of addiction has been to promote them as a safer alternative to tobacco, a behavioral choice supporting smoking cessation, and as the 'cool' appearance of vaping with flavored products (e.g. tutti frutti, bubble gum, and buttered popcorn etc.). Thus, there is a clear need to better document the health outcomes of e-cig use in the oral cavity of the addicted chronic user. There appears to be an array of environmental toxins in the vapors, including reactive aldehydes and carbonyls resulting from the heating elements action on fluid components, as well as from the composition of chemical flavoring agents. The chemistry of these systems shows that the released vapors from the e-cigs frequently contain levels of environmental toxins that considerably exceed federal occupational exposure limits. Additionally, the toxicants in the vapors appear to be retained in the host fluids/tissues at levels often approximating 90% of the levels in the e-cig vapors. These water-soluble reactive toxins can challenge the oral cavity constituents, potentially contributing to alterations in the autochthonous microbiome and host cells critical for maintaining oral homeostasis. This review updates the existing chemistry/environmental aspects of e-cigs, as well as providing an overview of the somewhat limited data on potential oral health effects that could occur across the lifetime of daily e-cig users.

Keywords: e-cigarette; electronic nicotine delivery systems; oral health; public health; vaping.

Publication types

  • Review