VAPIng into ARDS: Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and Cardiopulmonary Failure

Pharmacol Ther. 2022 Apr;232:108006. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2021.108006. Epub 2021 Sep 25.


"Modern" vaping involving battery-operated electronic devices began approximately one dozen years and has quickly evolved into a multibillion dollar industry providing products to an estimated 50 million users worldwide. Originally developed as an alternative to traditional cigarette smoking, vaping now appeals to a diverse demographic including substantial involvement of young people who often have never used cigarettes. The rapid rise of vaping fueled by multiple factors has understandably outpaced understanding of biological effects, made even more challenging due to wide ranging individual user habits and preferences. Consequently while vaping-related research gathers momentum, vaping-associated pathological injury (VAPI) has been established by clinical case reports with severe cases manifesting as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) with examples of right ventricular cardiac failure. Therefore, basic scientific studies are desperately needed to understand the impact of vaping upon the lungs as well as cardiopulmonary structure and function. Experimental models that capture fundamental characteristics of vaping-induced ARDS are essential to study pathogenesis and formulate recommendations to mitigate harmful effects attributable to ingredients or equipment. So too, treatment strategies to promote recovery from vaping-associated damage require development and testing at the preclinical level. This review summarizes the back story of vaping leading to present day conundrums with particular emphasis upon VAPI-associated ARDS and prioritization of research goals.

Keywords: Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS); Pulmonary; Right ventricular failure; Vaping.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Heart
  • Humans
  • Lung
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome* / etiology
  • Vaping* / adverse effects