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Acute effect of an e-cigarette with and without nicotine on lung function

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Tobacco Induced Diseases201412 (Suppl 1) :A34

  • Published:


  • Public Health
  • Asthma
  • Internal Medicine
  • Polyethylene
  • Nicotine


E-cig is an electrical device that vaporizes propylene or polyethylene glycol-based liquid solution into an aerosol mist containing different concentration of nicotine. Our preliminary study showed an increase in Raw, a concomitant decrease in sGaw and an increase in slope of phase III in a limited number of subjects immediately after smoking a single e–cig containing nicotine.

Materials and methods

We extended our protocol in a larger group of never smokers and in smokers. We implemented the same protocol with a nicotine free e-cig in a group of never smokers. We studied 60 subjects before and after smoking an e-cig containing 11mg nicotine (Group A). Group A: 9 never smokers and 51 smokers (24 had no overt airways disease, 11 asthma, 16 COPD). Another group of 10 never smokers used a nicotine free e-cig (Group B). Lung function assessed pre and post e-cig use including lung volumes, airway resistance (Raw), specific airway conductance (sGaw) and the slope of phase III. The same brand of e-cig used in both groups, with 11 and 0mg of nicotine.


Group A: a significant increase in Raw was shown in smokers and in never smokers (0.284±0.13-0.308±0.14; p= 0.033, 0.246±0.07-0.292±0.05; p=0.006) with significant decrease in sGaw (1.197±0.50-1.060±0.42; p= 0.009, 1.313±0.22-1.109±0.18; p= 0.043). Increased slope in phase III was shown only in asthmatic patients (p=0.008). Group B: increase in Raw (0.247±0.03-0.333±0.08; p=0.005) and a decrease in sGaw (1.213±0.29-0.944±0.18; p=0.009) noted.


The present study supports our preliminary results showing increased Raw and a concomitant decrease in sGaw. These changes might be due to the vaporizing liquid but not to the inhaled nicotine per se.

Authors’ Affiliations

Research unit for Tobacco Control, 1st Respiratory Department, University of Athens, Medical School, Sotiria Hospital, Athens, 11527, Greece