Turkish Thoracic Journal

Health hazards and complications associated with electronic cigarettes: a review


Interdisciplinary Allergy Outpatient Clinic, Department of Pneumology, University of Luebeck, Germany


Department of Chest Diseases, Yedikule Chest Diseases and Thoracic Surgery Ed. & Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey

Turk Thorac J 0; 5: 0-0
DOI: 10.5152/TurkThoracJ.2019.180203
Read: 210 Downloads: 20 Published: 18 July 2019


Electronic cigarettes (ECs) are devices that vaporise and release a sweetened liquid containing nicotine as a substitute for burning tobacco. Manufacturers of ECs have suggested that ‘vaping’ is a safer alternative to conventional smoking because of the potential reduction in exposure to toxic substances. In the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey, 4.9% of middle school students and 20.8% of high school students reported using ECs in the previous 30 days, with respective rates of 0.6% and 1.5% in 2011 and 3.3% and 11.7% in 2017. The main reason for this steady increase in use of ECs in the younger age groups is the widespread perception that ECs are less harmful than conventional cigarettes because they do not involve smoking of tobacco and contain less or no nicotine. This review suggests that ECs may not be as harmless as they seem. There are increasing numbers of case reports on the various complications arising from use of ECs, which are especially popular among young persons and could have a negative effect on their health. The reported complications are lipoid pneumonia, acute eosinophilic pneumonia, hypersensitivity pneumonia, organizing pneumonia, diffuse alveolar hemorrhage, multiple reactive pulmonary nodules, subacute bronchiolitis, mouth and tongue injuries, dental injuries, complex facial fractures, thermal injuries, nickel contact allergy, C1 and C2 fracture, and fatal intoxication after ingestion of liquids. Complications that develop directly as a result of the substances contained in the devices and the adverse events resulting from explosion and burning of the device are being reported with increasing frequency. There is an urgent need for legislation and restriction regarding the sale of these devices in view of their increasing frequency of use in the younger age groups.


Cite this article as: Gülşen A, Uslu B. Health hazards and complications associated with electronic cigarettes: a review. Turk Thorac J 2019; DOI: 10.5152/TurkThoracJ.2019.180203

EISSN 2149-2530