The Open Public Health Journal

ISSN: 1874-9445 ― Volume 12, 2019

Effects of Smoking Electronic Cigarettes on Pulmonary Function and Environmental Parameters

Luca Coppeta*, Andrea Magrini, Antonio Pietroiusti, Stefano Perrone, Mario Grana
Occupational Health Service, University of Rome, Tor Vergata, Viale Oxford 81, 00133, Roma, Italy



Our study aims to evaluate whether the active use of the electronic cigarette (e-cig) can determine adverse effects on the respiratory function of healthy workers and whether potentially dangerous pollutants are released in the air.


Thirty healthy workers (seventeen men and thirteen women, age range 27-37) were included in the study. Immediately before and after a 5-minute smoking session performed in two different days (first-day e-cig, second-day tobacco cigarette [t-cig]), they underwent spirometry evaluation. Furthermore, environmental particle monitoring was performed during the experimental procedure (i.e. before, during and after active smoking).


Our study showed slight reductions in the main pulmonary function data both after active e-cig and t-cig smoking. Changes in the main respiratory parameters were significantly different than baseline after 1 minute from e-cigarette smoking (3,95 vs 3,91 lt for FEV:P=0,03; 0,84 vs 0,83 for FEV1/FVC ratio:P=0,008; 4,23 vs 3,99 lt/min for FEF25-75%: P=0,03) but not after 15 minutes from active e-cigarette smoking, whereas after t-cig smoking, there was a significant drop in the 15 min value of FEV1(P=, FEF25-75% (P=0.01) and the FEV1/FVC ratio (P=0.007).

Regarding environmental exposure, the e-cig smoking was associated with the transient release of particles with a diameter < 1 micron which dropped to baseline after 5 minutes, whereas in the case of t-cig, the particles persisted for 60 min.


In this study, the active use of e-cig for a short time caused similar, although less pronounced effects as tobacco smoke on the pulmonary function. Similarly, the particles released in the environment had lower concentration and persistence than those of t-cig. These data suggest that e-cig may potentially be dangerous for active smokers and the environment. Long-term studies seem warranted to discover the health effects of active and passive exposure to e-cig.

Keywords: E-cigarette, Environmental particle monitoring, Ultrafine particles, Pulmonary function, Pollutants, T-cigarette.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2018
Volume: 11
First Page: 360
Last Page: 368
Publisher Id: TOPHJ-11-360
DOI: 10.2174/1874944501811010360

Article History:

Received Date: 6/6/2018
Revision Received Date: 3/8/2018
Acceptance Date: 7/8/2018
Electronic publication date: 29/08/2018
Collection year: 2018

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© 2018 Coppeta et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to the author at the Occupational Health Service, University of Rome, Tor Vergata, Viale Oxford 81, 00133, Roma, Italy; Tel: +39(6)20902201; E-mail:


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