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In Science advances

Six percent of Americans, including 3 million high schoolers, use e-cigarettes, which contain potentially toxic substances, volatile organic compounds, and metals. We present the first human study on the effects of e-cigarette exposure in the oral cavity. By interrogating both immunoinflammatory responses and microbial functional dynamics, we discovered pathogen overrepresentation, higher virulence signatures, and a brisk proinflammatory signal in clinically healthy e-cigarette users, equivalent to patients with severe periodontitis. Using RNA sequencing and confocal and electron microscopy to validate these findings, we demonstrate that the carbon-rich glycol/glycerol vehicle is an important catalyst in transforming biofilm architecture within 24 hours of exposure. Last, a machine-learning classifier trained on the metagenomic signatures of e-cigarettes identified as e-cigarette users both those individuals who used e-cigarettes to quit smoking, and those who use both e-cigarettes and cigarettes. The present study questions the safety of e-cigarettes and the harm reduction narrative promoted by advertising campaigns.

Ganesan Sukirth M, Dabdoub Shareef M, Nagaraja Haikady N, Scott Michelle L, Pamulapati Surya, Berman Micah L, Shields Peter G, Wewers Mary Ellen, Kumar Purnima S

2020-May