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E-cig users should use high nicotine versions

Friday June 8th, 2018

Former smokers who turn to vaping and e-cigarettes seem to fare better by choosing devices with high nicotine levels, rather than low, British researchers say today.

People using low nicotine e-liquid in their devices inhaled more deeply and more often than those using high nicotine liquid, potentially increasing the risk of exposure to toxins, including formaldehyde, in the vapour, researchers at London South Bank University found.

Researchers studied 20 e-cigarette users and found that the low nicotine group also reported: a stronger urge to vape, more acute withdrawal symptoms and were less satisfied after use.

These findings are similar to those on nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), in which smokers need a sufficiently high dose of nicotine to increase their chances of successfully giving up tobacco by reducing cravings, the researchers say.

Dr Lynne Dawkins, lead author of the Cancer Research UK funded study, said: “Some vapers might believe that starting out on a low nicotine strength is a good thing, but they should be aware that reducing their nicotine concentration is likely to result in the use of more e-liquid.

“This obviously comes with a financial cost but also possibly with a health cost. The results of our study suggest that smokers who want to switch to vaping may be better to start with higher, rather than lower, nicotine levels to reduce compensatory behaviour and the amount of e-liquid used.

She said that although e-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking, the vapour can still contain some potentially harmful chemicals that present a higher risk to health than nicotine. She said further research on a larger number of people is now needed.

Alison Cox, director of prevention at Cancer Research UK, said: “Let’s be clear. While there are potentially harmful chemicals present in the e-cigarette vapour, there are far more in tobacco smoke. The best thing smokers can do for their health is to stop smoking, and switching to e-cigarettes is one way to do this.

“First time vapers should be prepared to experiment to find what suits them best and helps them to give up for good.”

Dawkins et al. ‘Real-world’ compensatory behaviour with low nicotine concentration e-liquid: subjective effects and nicotine, acrolein and formaldehyde exposure. Addiction 8 June 2018; doi: 10.1111/add.14271

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/add.14271

Tags: Cancer | Drug & Alcohol Abuse | UK News

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