The Oral Microbiome of Electronic Cigarette Users: A Cross-sectional Exploration

14 March 2022

By: Irene Yang, Jeannie Rodriguez,Christa Young Wright, Yi-Juan Hu Source: Wiley Online Library



Electronic cigarettes have increased in popularity globally. Vaping may be associated with oral symptoms and pathologies including dental and periodontal damage, both of which have an underlying microbial etiology. The primary aim of this pilot study, therefore, was to compare the oral microbiome of vapers and non-vapers.

Subjects and Methods

This secondary data analysis had a cross-sectional comparative descriptive design and included data for thirty-six adults. Bacterial 16S rRNA genes were extracted and amplified from soft tissue oral swab specimens and taxonomically classified using the Human Oral Microbiome Database.


Data for 18 vapers and 18 non-vapers were included in this study. Almost 56% of the vapers also smoked conventional cigarettes. Beta diversity differences were identified between vapers and non-vapers. Vapers had a significantly higher relative abundance of an unclassified species of Veillonella compared to non-vapers. Dual users had higher alpha diversity compared to exclusive vapers. Beta diversity was also associated with dual use. Multiple OTUs were identified to be associated with dual use of e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes.


Vapers exhibit an altered oral microbiome. Dual use of electronic cigarettes and conventional cigarettes is associated with the presence of several known and unknown pathogenic microbes.