E-cig might cause cell damage of oral mucosa

Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol. 2021 Apr;131(4):435-443. doi: 10.1016/j.oooo.2020.11.009. Epub 2020 Nov 19.


Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate cytogenetic and cytotoxic damage through the evaluation of micronuclei (MN) and metanuclear anomalies in the oral mucosa of electronic cigarette (e-cig) users.

Study design: The patients were recruited into 4 groups: e-cig users, smokers, former smokers, and nonsmokers (control). The samples were collected by means of exfoliative cytology of the lateral region of the tongue and the floor of the mouth. The smears obtained were fixed and stained by the Feulgen method for investigation of MN and metanuclear anomalies.

Results: A significant difference was observed for MN frequency only between the smoker and control groups. As for metanuclear anomalies, significant differences were observed: karyolysis between: smokers and control, e-cig and control, as well as former smokers; karyorrhexis: between smoker and control; binucleation: between e-cig and former smoker, as well as control; broken eggs: between e-cig and all other groups; nuclear bud: between e-cig and former smokers, as well as control.

Conclusions: E-cig and alcohol users presented genotoxicity and cytotoxicity in the oral mucosa cells. The use of e-cigs and alcohol by former smokers can cause more damage to the cells of the oral mucosa compared to those who have not used e-cigs.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking
  • DNA Damage
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Humans
  • Mouth Mucosa