Former smokers who currently use e-cigarettes have lower concentrations of biomarkers of tobacco toxicant exposure than current smokers. It is unclear whether tobacco toxicant exposure reductions may lead to health risk reductions.
We compared inflammatory biomarkers (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, IL6, fibrinogen, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1) and an oxidative stress marker (F2-isoprostane) among 3,712 adult participants in Wave 1 (2013–2014) of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study by tobacco user groups: dual users of cigarettes and e-cigarettes; former smokers who currently use e-cigarettes-only; current cigarette-only smokers; former smokers who do not currently use any tobacco; and never tobacco users. We calculated geometric means (GM) and estimated adjusted GM ratios (GMR).
Dual users experienced greater concentration of F2-isoprostane than current cigarette-only smokers [GMR 1.09 (95% confidence interval, CI, 1.03–1.15)]. Biomarkers were similar between former smokers who currently use e-cigarettes and both former smokers who do not use any tobacco and never tobacco users, but among these groups most biomarkers were lower than those of current cigarette-only smokers. The concentration of F2-isoprostane decreased by time since smoking cessation among both exclusive e-cigarette users (Ptrend = 0.03) and former smokers who do not currently use any tobacco (Ptrend = 0.0001).
Dual users have greater concentration of F2-isoprostane than smokers. Exclusive e-cigarette users have biomarker concentrations that are similar to those of former smokers who do not currently use tobacco, and lower than those of exclusive cigarette smokers.
This study contributes to an understanding of the health effects of e-cigarettes.