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PLoS One. 2019 Dec 31;14(12):e0226744. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0226744. eCollection 2019.

Electronic cigarettes and insulin resistance in animals and humans: Results of a controlled animal study and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2013-2016).

Author information

1
Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America.
2
American Heart Association Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center, Dallas, Texas, United States of America.
3
Department of Environmental Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, Tuxedo, New York, United States of America.
4
Envirome Institute, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The popularity of electronic cigarettes (E-cigarettes) has risen considerably. Several studies have suggested that nicotine may affect insulin resistance, however, the impact of E-cigarette exposure on insulin resistance, an early measure of cardiometabolic risk, is not known.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

Using experimental animals and human data obtained from 3,989 participants of the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), respectively, we assessed the association between E-cigarette and conventional cigarette exposures and insulin resistance, as modelled using the homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and glucose tolerance tests (GTT). C57BL6/J mice (on standard chow diet) exposed to E-cigarette aerosol or mainstream cigarette smoke (MCS) for 12 weeks showed HOMA-IR and GTT levels comparable with filtered air-exposed controls. In the NHANES cohort, there was no significant association between defined tobacco product use categories (non-users; sole E-cigarette users; cigarette smokers and dual users) and insulin resistance. Compared with non-users of e-cigarettes/conventional cigarettes, sole E-cigarette users showed no significant difference in HOMA-IR or GTT levels following adjustment for age, sex, race, physical activity, alcohol use and BMI.

CONCLUSION:

E-cigarettes do not appear to be linked with insulin resistance. Our findings may inform future studies assessing potential cardiometabolic harms associated with E-cigarette use.

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