Nicotine levels selected, patterns of use, benefits and side effects of e-cigarette in ex-smokers

Nicotine levels selected, patterns of use, benefits and side effects of e-cigarette in ex-smokers

A new study has been published


By Dr Farsalinos

A new study has been recently published in the journal Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment. The study (which can be downloaded with free access) retrospectively evaluated how e-cigarettes were used by a group of vapers who had achieved complete smoking abstinence for at least one month with the use of an e-cigarette.

Most of the participants were previously heavy smokers (> 20 cigarettes per day) and were smoking for a median period of 18 years. The main findings of the study were that high nicotine levels were used by this group. More than 80% of participants used > 16mg/ml nicotine concentration liquids in order to quit smoking. After a median period of 8 months, only 12% of vapers were using liquids with < 5mg/ml nicotine concentration and only 4.5% were using non-nicotine liquids. The majority of the participants reported significant perceived benefits from switching to e-cigarette use, mainly in physical endurance and olfactory and gustatory senses improvement. Side effects were mild and mostly temporary, with none of the vapers needing medical attention or treatment. Finally, they reported reduced addiction to e-cigarettes compared to tobacco cigarettes. We have to mention however that we studied a group of motivated users, who are expected to have more positive experience from e-cigarettes compared to the general population.

Included in the article is a brief discussion about the negative impact on medicinal regulation. Such regulation would give a substantial advantage to tobacco cigarettes, which are the main competitors to e-cigarettes. It will make it harder for both vapers and smokers to have access and use the e-cigarette. Additionally, it will kill evolution and development of new more efficient products, and it will significantly reduce the variability of liquids and devices currently available. Of course some regulation is needed, because currently everyone can sell whatever he wants, none provide any kind of certificates about the purity of ingredients used (nicotine, PG, VG) and none reveals any kind of testing done on the products (I am certain that only a small minority has done any kind of serious testing). However, medicinal regulation is very strict and will reduce availability without offering any kind of advantages over other forms of regulation.

The study is not anything revolutionary. We already know how e-cigarettes are used and how much nicotine smokers need in order to get rid of smoking. However, it is important to report such data in peer-reviewed articles in medical journals because you can use them as published data instead of reporting them as anecdotal. I invite you to download and read the full text of the paper.




Dr Farsalinos is a researcher at Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens-Greece and at Medical Imaging Research Center, University Hospital Gathuisberg in Leuven-Belgium. He is actively involved in research on e-cigarettes’ safety and risk profile.


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