E-cigarettes have helped many smokers quit smoking, but skeptics suspect that e-cigarettes are not an effective method of nicotine delivery and could fail to give smokers the nicotine they crave. While that may have been true with some older e-cigarettes, research has shown that newer models of e-cigarettes do deliver nicotine as effectively as tobacco cigarettes, and the experience of the person using the e-cigarette makes a difference as well.
While reduction of nicotine intake and eventual overcoming of a nicotine addiction is the goal for most smokers who desire to quit, it is important than any method used to quit smoking deliver nicotine as well as cigarettes, with a “step down” method used to gradually wean off the drug. If an alternative to smoking fails to deliver nicotine effectively in the beginning stages of its use, the smoker is likely to give it up and return to smoking.
That scenario is more likely to happen with a smoker who does not know how to correctly use an e-cigarette, according to a study recently published in the American Journal of Health Behavior. Research performed by British American Tobacco in collaboration with Los Angeles Clinical Trials studied blood nicotine levels in participants who used e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes. Both older and newer models of e-cigarettes were used, and the results showed that for experienced e-cigarette users, older style e-cigarettes did not deliver nicotine as effectively as newer models, but that newer models of e-cigarettes did deliver nicotine as well or better than tobacco cigarettes.In a second study that involved smokers who were not familiar with e-cigarette usage, nicotine was not delivered as effectively through the use of e-cigarettes as it was through tobacco cigarettes. However, the urge to smoke was reduced for the smokers after smoking e-cigarettes.
The results indicate that newer models of e-cigarettes deliver nicotine more effectively than older models, but perhaps more importantly, that there is a right and a wrong way to effectively use an e-cigarette. Experience can teach e-cigarette users to correctly use the device, which is best used by taking longer draws than is usual with regular cigarettes. During the study, the participants who were inexperienced with e-cigarettes were first instructed to take a puff at a time on a regular cigarette every 30 seconds. They were then instructed to smoke a cigarette freely. Free-smoking resulted in better delivery of nicotine than instructed smoking, and the same was true with e-cigarette use.
The conclusion that can be drawn from this is that a smoker who begins using e-cigarettes may be trying too hard to imitate smoking a cigarette, something that has come naturally to them for a long time. In time, using an e-cigarette becomes natural, and every individual will find their “vaping style,” which could result in a better experience and better nicotine delivery.
It is also important that e-cigarettes on the market today are better at nicotine delivery than older e-cigarettes were. The study used Nicolites, an older non-rechargeable e-cigarette, and a Vype vPro pen. The Vype is similar to many e-cigarettes that are currently on the market and the type of device often chosen by more experienced users. Smokers who seek a first e-cigarette often prefer a “cigalike” like a Nicolite. One problem may be that this type of e-cigarette does not deliver nicotine effectively, causing many users to decide that e-cigarettes have failed and return to smoking. Considering a pen-style or larger e-cigarette could help a smoker stay with e-cigarettes and successfully quit smoking.