Metabolomic Analysis Identified Reduced Levels of Xenobiotics, Oxidative Stress, and Improved Vitamin Metabolism in Smokers Switched to Vuse Electronic Nicotine Delivery System

Nicotine Tob Res. 2021 Jun 8;23(7):1133-1142. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntaa225.


Introduction: Switching to noncombustible tobacco products presents an opportunity for cigarette smokers to potentially reduce the health risks associated with smoking. Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) are one such product because the vapor produced from ENDS contains far fewer toxicants than cigarette smoke. To investigate the biochemical effects of switching from smoking to an ENDS, we assessed global metabolomic profiles of smokers in a 7-day confinement clinical study.

Methods: In the first 2 days of this clinical study, the subjects used their usual brand of cigarettes and then switched to exclusive ENDS ad libitum use for 5 days. Urine and plasma samples were collected at baseline and 5 days after switching. The samples were analyzed using a mass spectrometry-based metabolomic platform.

Results: Random forest analyses of urine and plasma metabolomic data revealed excellent predictive accuracy (>97%) of a 30-metabolite signature that can differentiate smokers from 5-day ENDS switchers. In these signatures, most biomarkers are nicotine-derived metabolites or xenobiotics. They were significantly reduced in urine and plasma, suggesting a decreased xenobiotic load on subjects. Our results also show significantly decreased levels of plasma glutathione metabolites after switching, which suggests reduced levels of oxidative stress. In addition, increased urinary and plasma levels of vitamins and antioxidants were identified, suggesting enhanced bioavailability due to discontinuation of cigarette smoking and switching to Vuse ENDS use.

Conclusions: Our results suggest reduced toxicant exposure, reduced oxidative stress, and potential beneficial changes in vitamin metabolism within 5 days in smokers switching to Vuse ENDS.

Implications: Switching from smoking to exclusive ENDS use in clinical confinement settings results in significant reduction of nicotine metabolites and other cigarette-related xenobiotics in urine and plasma of subjects. Significantly decreased oxidative stress-related metabolites and increased urinary and plasma levels of vitamin metabolites and antioxidants in 5-day short-term ENDS switchers suggest less toxic physiological environment for consumers of ENDS products and potential health benefits if such changes persist.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Smokers
  • Tobacco Products*
  • Vitamins
  • Xenobiotics


  • Biomarkers
  • Vitamins
  • Xenobiotics