Electronic Cigarettes and Asthma: What Do We Know So Far?

J Pers Med. 2021 Jul 27;11(8):723. doi: 10.3390/jpm11080723.


Electronic cigarettes (EC) are a novel product, marketed as an alternative to tobacco cigarette. Its effects on human health have not been investigated widely yet, especially in specific populations such as patients with asthma. With this review, we use the existing literature in order to answer four crucial questions concerning: (1) ECs' role in the pathogenesis of asthma; (2) ECs' effects on lung function and airway inflammation in patients with asthma; (3) ECs' effects on asthma clinical characteristics in asthmatics who use it regularly; and (4) ECs' effectiveness as a smoking cessation tool in these patients. Evidence suggests that many EC compounds might contribute to the pathogenesis of asthma. Lung function seems to deteriorate by the use of EC in this population, while airway inflammation alters, with the aggravation of T-helper-type-2 (Th2) inflammation being the most prominent but not the exclusive effect. EC also seems to worsen asthma symptoms and the rate and severity of exacerbations in asthmatics who are current vapers, whilst evidence suggests that its effectiveness as a smoking cessation tool might be limited. Asthmatic patients should avoid using EC.

Keywords: airway inflammation; asthma; asthma control; asthma pathogenesis; electronic cigarette; lung function; review; smoking cessation.

Publication types

  • Review