A new report by Nicotine & Tobacco Research has recently been released that has found e cigarettes to be less addictive than tobacco cigarettes. Not a huge surprise for vapers that have made the switch maybe but a welcome report nevertheless.
“We found that e-cigarettes appear to be less addictive than tobacco cigarettes in a large sample of long-term users,” said Jonathan Foulds, professor of public health sciences and psychiatry, Penn State College of Medicine.
To study e-cigarette dependence, the researchers developed an online survey, including questions designed to assess previous dependence on cigarettes and almost identical questions to assess current dependence on e-cigs. More than 3,500 current users of e-cigs who were ex-cigarette smokers completed the Penn State Cigarette Dependence Index and the Penn State Electronic Cigarette Dependence Index.
Higher nicotine concentration in e-cig liquid, as well as use of advanced second-generation e-cigs, which deliver nicotine more efficiently than earlier “cigalikes,” predicted dependence. Consumers who had used e-cigs longer also appeared to be more addicted.
“However, people with all the characteristics of a more dependent e-cig user still had a lower e-cig dependence score than their cigarette dependence score,” Foulds said. “We think this is because they’re getting less nicotine from the e-cigs than they were getting from cigarettes.”
Although many regular users on e-cigarettes are trying to quit smoking, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved them for this use, and they cannot be marketed as a smoking cessation product.
“We don’t have long-term health data of e-cig use yet, but any common sense analysis says that e-cigs are much less toxic. And our paper shows that they appear to be much less addictive, as well. So in both measures they seem to have advantages when you’re concerned about health.”
The findings, which are published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, also have implications for developing e-cigs for smoking cessation.
“We might actually need e-cigarettes that are better at delivering nicotine because that’s what’s more likely to help people quit,” Foulds said.
Previous research shows that nicotine replacement efficacy correlates with higher nicotine dose and faster delivery speed.
Additional researchers on this project are Susan Veldheer, research coordinator, Jessica Yingst, research assistant, and Shari Hrabovsky, research nurse practitioner, all at Penn State College of Medicine; Stephen J. Wilson and Travis T. Nichols, both at Penn State; and Thomas T. Eissenberg at Virginia Commonwealth University.
This work was initially funded by an internal grant from Penn State Social Science Research Institute and Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health and the Center for Tobacco Products of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration