Thursday, March 20, 2014

Clinical Trial: E-Cigarettes Are Satisfying Cigarette Substitutes

A clinical trial demonstrates that e-cigarettes deliver nicotine, reduce craving and satisfy vapers. The research, published in Scientific Reports (here), is the work of Konstantinos Farsalinos and colleagues at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Kallithea Greece.

Twenty-three experienced vapers (all former smokers) were recruited to compare a small e-cigarette (V2, also called a ciga-like) with a more advanced and powerful model (EVIC) in a cross-over trial on two separate days.  Participants abstained from e-cigarettes, caffeine and alcohol for eight hours before each session.  In the sessions, vapers took 10 puffs during the first 5 minutes, then puffed ad lib for the next hour.

The advanced e-cigarette models delivered about 50-70% more nicotine than ciga-likes throughout the trial.  Peak blood nicotine levels, occurring at the end of the session, were 23 nanograms per ml for the advanced model and 16 ng./ml for the ciga-likes. 

The investigators also compared nicotine delivery from these devices to previously published levels from conventional cigarettes.  They concluded, “…it took about 35 minutes of vaping with the [advanced] device at high wattage in order to obtain plasma levels similar to smoking one cigarette in 5 minutes.  The [ciga-like] was even less efficient in nicotine delivery; even 65 minutes of ad lib vaping (sic) was insufficient to deliver…nicotine at levels similar to smoking.”

The difference in nicotine delivery may have accounted for the fact that the advanced devices reduced cravings to a significantly lower level than ciga-likes during the sessions.  Vapers rated the advanced devices as significantly more satisfying and more likely to provide a “throat hit,” even though they produced significantly more throat burning.  They rated ciga-likes as more similar to a cigarette.  There were no differences in other effects, such as calming, concentration or taste.

The bottom line: E-cigarettes are satisfying cigarette substitutes.  Ciga-likes have the look and feel of traditional cigarettes, while advanced models deliver nicotine and tobacco satisfaction more efficiently.  The findings suggest that the current e-cigarette market provides a range of models that should appeal to the majority of smokers.

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