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Addict Behav. 2018 Sep;84:201-206. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.04.009. Epub 2018 Apr 12.

Electronic cigarette liquid and device parameters and aerosol characteristics: A survey of regular users.

Author information

1
Department of Behavioral Science, Department of Psychology, Kastle Hall, 173 Funkhouser Dr, Lexington, KY 40506-0044, United States. Electronic address: Arit.H@uky.edu.
2
University of Kentucky College of Nursing, 509C College of Nursing Building, Lexington 40536-0232, United States.
3
University of Kentucky College of Nursing, 417 College of Nursing Building, Lexington 40536-0232, United States.
4
Department of Behavioral Science, Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky College of Nursing, Department of Psychiatry, Medical Behavioral Science Building, Lexington, KY 40536-0086, United States.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Electronic cigarettes are widely variable devices, typically with user definable liquid and device parameters. Yet, little is known about how regular users manipulate these parameters. There is also limited understanding of what factors drive electronic cigarette use and liquid purchasing, and whether two common ingredients, propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, alter the subjective effects of these devices.

METHODS:

During the spring of 2016 522 adults, who reported daily use of electronic cigarettes containing nicotine, completed a survey on electronic cigarettes. Survey questions included an electronic cigarette dependence questionnaire, questions on tobacco and electronic cigarette use, and device and liquid preferences.

RESULTS:

Fifty-nine percent of respondents reported using another tobacco product, which was positively associated with level of nicotine dependence. On average, devices were set to 28.3 (SD = 24.2) watts. Ability to change device voltage, and level of resistance typically used, was significantly associated with level of nicotine dependence. Amount of liquid consumed, nicotine concentration, and milligrams of nicotine used per week, were positively associated with nicotine dependence. Participants rated 'good taste' as the most important consideration when using and purchasing liquids, and propylene glycol is associated with undesirable effects and vegetable glycerin with desirable effects.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data indicate that electronic cigarette users utilize a wide range device parameter settings and liquid variables, and that individuals with greater nicotine dependence favor voltage control devices, and lower resistance heating elements. Taste is a key factor for electronic cigarette selection, and concentrations of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin may have a significant impact on the reinforcing effects of liquids.

KEYWORDS:

Abuse liability; Nicotine; Propylene glycol; Taste; Vegetable; Wattage; glycerin

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