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Center for the Study of Tobacco Products: Respiratory Effects of THC and Nicotine E-Cigarettes: A Prospective Study

Principal Investigator: Thomas Eissenberg

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health – Grant

ID number: 5U54DA036105-08

Award Date: 8/21/2020

Institution: Virginia Commonwealth University


E-cigarette/vaping-associated lung injury (EVALI) is a new disease that is not well-understood, in part because of the differences among e-cigarette devices and liquids used; however, it has been linked to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) liquid use and vitamin E acetate inhalation. Importantly, computed tomography (CT) scans of the lungs of EVALI patients uniformly reveal “ground-glass opacities” (GGOs), which indicates partial displacement of air within the lung; the appearance of GGOs in e-cigarette users is a potential EVALI biomarker. Researchers at the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products (CSTP) will perform CT scans and pulmonary function tests and analyze the devices and liquids from healthy e-cigarette users aged 18-45 years. They will track participants’ respiratory health for two years and then conduct a second set of CTs and pulmonary function tests. Study aims are: (1) to perform CT scans and pulmonary function tests at baseline and after two years on 45 exclusive nicotine e-cigarette users, 45 exclusive THC e-cigarette users, and 45 nicotine+THC e-cigarette users, as well as an additional 45 non-e-cigarette users as controls; (2) to identify e-cigarette devices and analyze e-cigarette liquids used by each participant; and (3) to track respiratory health over two years using quarterly online surveys assessing respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms. Study findings may provide more information about EVALI and may inform future regulatory activities related to e-cigarettes. 
 

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