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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2018 Jul 1;188:193-199. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2018.03.042. Epub 2018 May 1.

Effects of electronic cigarette liquid solvents propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin on user nicotine delivery, heart rate, subjective effects, and puff topography.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Center for the Study of Tobacco Products, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, United States.
2
Department of Psychology, Center for the Study of Tobacco Products, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, United States; Department of Mechanical Engineering, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon.
3
Department of Pharmaceutics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, United States.
4
Department of Psychology, Center for the Study of Tobacco Products, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, United States. Electronic address: teissenb@vcu.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Electronic cigarettes (ECIGs) are a class of tobacco products that produce different effects (e.g., nicotine delivery), depending on the device, liquid, and behavioral factors. However, the influence of the two primary ECIG liquid solvents, propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG), on ECIG acute effects is unknown.

METHODS:

Thirty ECIG-experienced, ≥12-h nicotine- abstinent participants completed four conditions consisting of two ECIG-use bouts (10 puffs, 30 s interpuff-interval) differing only by liquid PG:VG ratio (2PG:98VG, 20PG:80VG, 55PG:45VG, 100PG). Device power (7.3 W) and liquid nicotine concentration (18 mg/ml) remained constant. Nicotine delivery, subjective effects, heart rate (HR), and puff topography were assessed.

RESULTS:

In the 100PG condition, participants took shorter and smaller puffs but obtained significantly more nicotine relative to the two VG-based conditions. Total nicotine exposure (i.e., area under the curve) was also significantly higher during use of the two PG-based liquids. However, participants reported that the 100 PG liquid was significantly less "pleasant" and "satisfying" relative to the other liquids (all ps < .05). Increases in HR and decreases in abstinence symptoms (e.g., "craving") did not differ across conditions.

CONCLUSIONS:

PG:VG ratio influenced nicotine delivery, some subjective effects, and puff topography. Lower overall product satisfaction associated with the 100PG liquid suggests factors other than nicotine delivery (e.g., aerosol visibility) may play a role in maintaining ECIG use. Regulating ECIG acute effects such as nicotine delivery and subjective effects may require simultaneous attention to liquid PG:VG ratio as well as device, liquid, and behavioral factors known to influence these outcomes.

KEYWORDS:

Electronic cigarettes; Nicotine delivery; Propylene glycol; Puff topography; Vegetable glycerin

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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