Tobacco Studies, E-Cigarettes & Vaping

The harmful effects of tobacco smoke exposure are well documented. Yet research is still necessary to understand the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms and there is a pressing need for new therapeutic agents to treat patients. Scientific evidence is also needed to understand the risks associated with vapour exposure from electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in order to guide the decision-making process for the use of these nicotine delivery devices. The rapid adoption of e-cigarettes, especially amongst the youth, has spurred a rush to fill the knowledge gap pertaining to the safety profile for the users and the environment.

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Smoke composition is influenced by a number of technical factors. The constituents of smoke or their concentrations will differ whether the smoke is drawn from side-stream, main-stream or environmental tobacco smoke. It will also vary with the smoke preparation (e.g. cigarette brand, water filtered smoke or hookah, cigars, or e-cigarette liquids) or the puff profile used. Since studies assessing the impact of smoke are typically conducted over a prolonged time period, it is therefore important to consistently and reproducibly introduce the same smoke composition for each experimental session. The inExpose is a versatile, programmable, and compact exposure system that can be configured with smoke generation devices (e.g. cigarette smoking robot, single cigarette chamber, e-cigarettes), or nebulizers to generate a wide range of exposures consistently within and between studies, as well as across laboratories.




The impact of smoke exposure on the respiratory system can best be captured by evaluating the changes in lung function. These measurements are quantitative and can capture the effect of several disease determinants (e.g. extent and pattern of tissue destruction). The flexiVent system combines a wide selection of lung function measurements within a single device, while offering the sensitivity to capture small but significant changes. Overall and detailed respiratory mechanics, specific lung volumes, pressure-volume or flow-volume loops are examples of measurements that can be used to characterize the respiratory system in tobacco or e-cigarette-related studies, with some outcomes (e.g. FEV, lung volumes) also having a translational value.


Smoke-related preclinical studies are often chronic studies involving repeated exposures over several months. During such studies, the harmful effects of smoke exposure on ventilation can be followed in a longitudinal manner using one of the plethysmography techniques (whole body, head-out, double-chamber). Parameters such as breathing frequency, tidal volume, or minute ventilation can be obtained non-invasively with these techniques, both under room air or altered atmospheric (e.g. hypoxia, hypercapnia) conditions. With the appropriate system configuration, the recording and computation of coughing events can also be achieved.


Smoking was established as a common determinant for smoke-related pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases. Exposures to smoke or its constituents can therefore affect airway and/or vascular smooth muscle contractility or relaxation. These effects can be directly addressed using tissue baths, a classic yet relevant and translational approach to study concentration-responses in isolated whole tissue preparations. The technique can be performed on contractile tissues from various sources or species under different conditions to simulate in vivo or clinical conditions (e.g. various oxygen concentrations).