Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Potential health effects of electronic cigarettes: A systematic review of case reports.

  • Author(s): Hua, M
  • Talbot, P
  • et al.

The health risks associated with electronic cigarettes (ECs) are largely unknown. The purpose of this systematic review was to evaluate published case reports that deal with health effects attributed to EC use. An Internet search was conducted to identify case reports dealing with the effects of EC use on health. Twenty-six case reports representing 27 individuals (one study contained reports for two individuals) were published between April 2012 and January 2016, and these were grouped into categories of effect according to their health outcomes. Of the 27 individuals, 25 had negative effects subsequent to use or exposure to ECs and their refill fluids, while two reported improvement in chronic immune and gastrointestinal conditions. Three categories of negative health effects were identified: systemic effects, nicotine poisoning, and mechanical injury. Thirteen cases reported EC effects on different systems including: respiratory (6), gastrointestinal or developing intestine of an infant (3), cardiovascular (2), neurological (1), and immune (1). Twelve cases involved nicotine poisoning resulting from accidental (N = 3), misuse/abuse (N = 1), or suicidal/intentional ingestion (N = 8); four of these involved children and three resulted in adult fatalities. Two cases reported mechanical injury caused by an EC battery explosion. Most case reports show that the health of children and adults can be negatively affected by EC products and that if death does not occur, negative effects can be reversed. Data further indicate that EC use can cause negative health effects in previously healthy individuals and exacerbate pre-existing conditions.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC Academic Senate's Open Access Policy. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View