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Addict Behav. 2018 Jul 21. pii: S0306-4603(18)30806-2. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.07.019. [Epub ahead of print]

Nicotine absorption from e-cigarettes over 12 months.

Author information

1
University of East London, United Kingdom.
2
University of East London, United Kingdom; London South Bank University, United Kingdom.
3
Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom.
4
London South Bank University, United Kingdom. Electronic address: dawkinl3@lsbu.ac.uk.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Research indicates that, over time, exclusive e-cigarette users (vapers) gradually reduce the nicotine concentration in their e-liquid and transition to more sophisticated devices. Alongside this, consumption of e-liquid increases and constant cotinine levels are maintained.

AIMS:

We aimed to confirm these observations in 27 experienced vapers tested at baseline and 12 months later, by measuring nicotine absorption (via salivary levels of the nicotine metabolite cotinine; ng/mL), nicotine concentrations in e-liquid (mg/mL), volume of e-liquid consumed (mL per day), device types and flavours used, both at baseline and 12 months.

RESULTS:

Vapers reduced both their nicotine concentrations in e-liquid over 12 months (from 13.83 mg/mL at baseline to 9.91 at follow up) but significantly increased their e-liquid consumption (from 4.44 to 6.84 mL). No significant changes in salivary cotinine concentrations (370.88 ng/mL at baseline and 415.78 ng/mL at follow up) were observed. There was an increase in sub-ohming (using an atomiser coil with resistance of <1 Ω with increased power) at 12 months, and in the use of fruit flavoured e-liquids.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our sample of experienced vapers reduced the concentration of nicotine in their e-liquid over time, but maintained their nicotine intake possibly through self-titration via more intensive puffing. Findings suggest there may be little benefit in reducing nicotine e-liquid concentration since this appears to result in higher e-liquid consumption which may incur both a financial and health cost. Gaining an understanding of underlying reasons for lowering e-liquid concentration would be a useful line of empirical enquiry.

KEYWORDS:

Cotinine; E-cigarettes; Nicotine absorption; Nicotine concentrations; Titration; Vapers

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