Examining the association of habitual e-cigarette use with inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in young adults: The VAPORS-Endothelial function study

Ellen Boakye, S. M.Iftekhar Uddin, Ngozi Osuji, Jill Meinert, Olufunmilayo H. Obisesan, Mohammadhassan Mirbolouk, Erfan Tasdighi, Omar El-Shahawy, John Erhabor, Albert D. Osei, Tanuja Rajan, Michael Patatanian, Janet T. Holbrook, Aruni Bhatnagar, Shyam S. Biswal, Michael J. Blaha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION Acute exposure to e-cigarette aerosol has been shown to have potentially deleterious effects on the cardiovascular system. However, the cardiovascular effects of habitual e-cigarette use have not been fully elucidated. Therefore, we aimed to assess the association of habitual e-cigarette use with endothelial dysfunction and inflammation – subclinical markers known to be associated with increased cardiovascular risk. METHODS In this cross-sectional study, we analyzed data from 46 participants (23 exclusive e-cigarette users; 23 non-users) enrolled in the VAPORS-Endothelial function study. E-cigarette users had used e-cigarettes for ≥6 consecutive months. Non-users had used e-cigarettes <5 times and had a negative urine cotinine test (<30 ng/mL). Flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and reactive hyperemia index (RHI) were used to assess endothelial dysfunction, and we assayed high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, fibrinogen, p-selectin, and myeloperoxidase as serum measures of inflammation. We used multivariable linear regression to assess the association of e-cigarette use with the markers of endothelial dysfunction and inflammation. RESULTS Of the 46 participants with mean age of 24.3 ± 4.0 years, the majority were males (78%), non-Hispanic (89%), and White (59%). Among non-users, 6 had cotinine levels <10 ng/mL while 17 had levels 10–30 ng/mL. Conversely, among e-cigarette users, the majority (14 of 23) had cotinine ≥500 ng/mL. At baseline, the systolic blood pressure was higher among e-cigarette users than non-users (p=0.011). The mean FMD was slightly lower among e-cigarette users (6.32%) compared to non-users (6.53%). However, in the adjusted analysis, current e-cigarette users did not differ significantly from non-users in their mean FMD (Coefficient=2.05; 95% CI: -2.52–6.63) or RHI (Coefficient= -0.20; 95% CI: -0.88–0.49). Similarly, the levels of inflammatory markers were generally low and did not differ between e-cigarette users and non-users. CONCLUSIONS Our findings suggest that e-cigarette use may not be significantly associated with endothelial dysfunction and systemic inflammation in relatively young and healthy individuals. Longer term studies with larger sample sizes are needed to validate these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number75
JournalTobacco Induced Diseases
StatePublished - 2023


  • e-cigarette
  • endothelial dysfunction
  • flow-mediated dilation
  • inflammation
  • reactive hyperemia index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Examining the association of habitual e-cigarette use with inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in young adults: The VAPORS-Endothelial function study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this