Health Effects of Trace Metals in Electronic Cigarette Aerosols—a Systematic Review


Electronic cigarettes (ECs) are essentially nicotine delivery devices that mimic the appearance of a conventional cigarette (CC). Lately, they have been marketed as tools for quitting smoking. Even though they are promoted as safe alternatives to CC, they are not devoid of hazardous components. Literature reveals that the EC aerosols and e-liquids are a potential source of elements that induce and promote development of chronic conditions. These include trace metals which are leached from their core assembly. Some of these metals like nickel, chromium, cadmium, tin, aluminum, and lead are potential carcinogens. They have been associated with fatal conditions like lung and sinonasal cancer. Besides, they may have adverse effects on oral tissues like periodontal ligament and mucosa where they may trigger chronic periodontitis and oral cancer. However, there is only trivial evidence related to health hazards of metals released from ECs. With this background, the present review first focuses on the structure of the ECs followed by an appraisal of the data from experimental studies about the metals released in EC aerosols and their associated health hazards.

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Correspondence to Rupali Agnihotri.

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Gaur, S., Agnihotri, R. Health Effects of Trace Metals in Electronic Cigarette Aerosols—a Systematic Review. Biol Trace Elem Res 188, 295–315 (2019).

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  • Chromium
  • Cadmium
  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Health
  • Lead
  • Nickel
  • Trace metals
  • Vaping