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NAQC Newsroom: Research

Effect of Electronic Cigarette Use on the Urge-to-cough Sensation.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Peter V. Dicpinigaitis, MD, Alfredo Lee Chang, MD, Alis J. Dicpinigaitis and Abdissa Negassa, PhD
Effect of Electronic Cigarette Use on the Urge-to-cough Sensation.
Nicotine Tob Res (2016)doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntw021First published online: January 22, 2016

Electronic cigarettes have attained common usage worldwide, yet knowledge of their physiological effects remains minimal. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of a single exposure to electronic cigarette vapor on the urge-to-cough (UTC) threshold and cough reflex sensitivity. 17 healthy nonsmokers underwent cough reflex sensitivity measurement employing capsaicin cough challenge at baseline, 15 minutes, and 24 hours after electronic cigarette exposure (30 puffs 30 seconds apart). The endpoint of cough challenge is C5, the concentration of capsaicin inducing ≥5 coughs. The UTC threshold, Cu, is defined as the lowest concentration of capsaicin inducing UTC without an associated motor cough.
The UTC threshold (Cu) and cough reflex sensitivity (C5) were significantly inhibited (Cu and C5 increased) 15 minutes after electronic cigarette use. Mean log Cu rose from -0.035±0.08(SEM) to 0.21±0.12 (p=0.005). Mean log C5 increased from 0.60±0.11 to 0.92±0.16 (p=0.001). By 24 hours after e-cig exposure, Cu and C5 had returned to baseline levels. A single session of electronic cigarette use, approximating nicotine exposure of one tobacco cigarette, induces significant inhibition of the UTC threshold as well as cough reflex sensitivity. Previous studies implicate nicotine as the agent responsible for suppression of cough reflex sensitivity, and we hypothesize a similar role for nicotine in the suppression of the UTC threshold. Given our observation of the effect of a single e-cig exposure, studies of the respiratory physiologic implications of repeated or chronic e-cig use are warranted.

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