Psychopharmacology

, Volume 231, Issue 2, pp 401–407 | Cite as

Acute electronic cigarette use: nicotine delivery and subjective effects in regular users

Original Investigation

Abstract

Rationale

Electronic cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular among smokers worldwide. Commonly reported reasons for use include the following: to quit smoking, to avoid relapse, to reduce urge to smoke, or as a perceived lower-risk alternative to smoking. Few studies, however, have explored whether electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) deliver measurable levels of nicotine to the blood.

Objective

This study aims to explore in experienced users the effect of using an 18-mg/ml nicotine first-generation e-cigarette on blood nicotine, tobacco withdrawal symptoms, and urge to smoke.

Methods

Fourteen regular e-cigarette users (three females), who are abstinent from smoking and e-cigarette use for 12 h, each completed a 2.5 h testing session. Blood was sampled, and questionnaires were completed (tobacco-related withdrawal symptoms, urge to smoke, positive and negative subjective effects) at four stages: baseline, 10 puffs, 60 min of ad lib use and a 60-min rest period.

Results

Complete sets of blood were obtained from seven participants. Plasma nicotine concentration rose significantly from a mean of 0.74 ng/ml at baseline to 6.77 ng/ml 10 min after 10 puffs, reaching a mean maximum of 13.91 ng/ml by the end of the ad lib puffing period. Tobacco-related withdrawal symptoms and urge to smoke were significantly reduced; direct positive effects were strongly endorsed, and there was very low reporting of adverse effects.

Conclusions

These findings demonstrate reliable blood nicotine delivery after the acute use of this brand/model of e-cigarette in a sample of regular users. Future studies might usefully quantify nicotine delivery in relation to inhalation technique and the relationship with successful smoking cessation/harm reduction.

Keywords

Nicotine delivery Electronic cigarette Acute use Urge to smoke Tobacco withdrawal symptoms Abstinent smokers Smoking cessation Nicotine addiction 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Drugs and Addictive Behaviours Research Group, School of PsychologyUniversity of East LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.The Medicines Research Group, School of Health, Sport and BioscienceUniversity of East LondonLondonUK

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