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    The bioactive chemicals in cigarette smoke (CS) and e-cigarette vapor (EV) may affect pathogenic bacteria in the nasopharyngeal microflora, which may have implications on the pathophysiology of respiratory infections in cigarette smokers and e-cigarette users. In this systematic review, we seek to synthesize the research evidence supporting this hypothesis. To address the central research question, "what is known from the published, peer-reviewed literature about the effects of cigarette smoke or e-cigarette vapor exposure on the physiology of human pathogenic bacteria?", we screened the PubMed®, Web of ScienceTM, and ScienceDirect databases for reports examining the virulence characteristics and gene expression in human pathogenic bacteria exposed to either CS or EV. The principal conclusion from our analysis is that exposure to either CS or EV induces the virulence of respiratory pathogenic bacteria in a strain-dependent manner, which may in turn facilitate respiratory infections in cigarette smokers and e-cigarette users. In addition, we present evidence that nicotine and reactive oxygen species are the main chemicals responsible for CS/EV-mediated alterations in bacterial physiology. We note limitations that this review does not examine reports describing the alterations in host respiratory physiology or nasopharyngeal dysbiosis caused by CS/EV exposure. Future research to determine whether CS/EV-mediated augmentation of bacterial virulence indeed plays a role in human respiratory tract infections is warranted.


    Kamal Bagale, Ritwij Kulkarni. A Systematic Review of the Literature Examining the Effects of Cigarette Smoke and e-Cigarette Vapor on the Virulence of Human Pathogenic Bacteria. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2022 Sep 30;19(19)

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    PMID: 36231813

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