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Tob Control. 2016 Apr;25(e1):e6-9. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2015-052447. Epub 2015 Aug 31.

Electronic cigarette nicotine delivery can exceed that of combustible cigarettes: a preliminary report.

Author information

1
Center for the Study of Tobacco Products, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA.
2
Department of Mechanical Engineering, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon.
3
Center for the Study of Tobacco Products, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA Department of Internal Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA.
4
Center for the Study of Tobacco Products, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA Department of Mechanical Engineering, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Electronic cigarettes (ECIGs) aerosolise a liquid that usually contains propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerine, flavourants and the dependence-producing drug, nicotine, in various concentrations. This laboratory study examined the relationship between liquid nicotine concentration and plasma nicotine concentration and puffing behaviour in experienced ECIG users.

METHODS:

Sixteen ECIG-experienced participants used a 3.3-Volt ECIG battery attached to a 1.5-Ohm dual-coil 'cartomiser' loaded with 1 mL of a flavoured propylene glycol/vegetable glycerine liquid to complete four sessions, at least 2 days apart, that differed by nicotine concentration (0, 8, 18 or 36 mg/mL). In each session, participants completed two 10-puff ECIG-use bouts (30 s puff interval) separated by 60 min. Venous blood was sampled to determine plasma nicotine concentration. Puff duration, volume and average flow rate were measured.

RESULTS:

Immediately after bout 1, mean plasma nicotine concentration was 5.5 ng/mL (SD=7.7) for 0 mg/mL liquid, with significantly (p<0.05) higher mean concentrations observed for the 8 (mean=17.8 ng/mL, SD=14.6), 18 (mean=25.9 ng/mL, SD=17.5) and 36 mg/mL (mean=30.2 ng/mL; SD=20.0) concentrations; a similar pattern was observed for bout 2. For bout 1, at 36 mg/mL, the mean post- minus pre-bout difference was 24.1 ng/mL (SD=18.3). Puff topography data were consistent with previous results and revealed few reliable differences across conditions.

DISCUSSION:

This study demonstrates a relationship between ECIG liquid nicotine concentration and user plasma nicotine concentration in experienced ECIG users. Nicotine delivery from some ECIGs may exceed that of a combustible cigarette. The rationale for this higher level of nicotine delivery is uncertain.

KEYWORDS:

Addiction; Electronic nicotine delivery devices; Nicotine

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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