E-cigarettes may be less addicive than cigarettes

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E-cigarettes appear to be less addictive than cigarettes in former smokers and this could help improve understanding of how various nicotine delivery devices lead to dependence, according to researchers. Although many regular users of 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.

The popularity of E-cigarettes, which typically deliver nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerin and flavorings through inhaled vapor, has increased in the past five years. There are currently more than 400 brands of "E-cigs" available. E-cigs contain far fewer cancer-causing and other toxic substances than cigarettes, however their long-term effects on health and nicotine dependence are unknown.

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.

Although many regular users of 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.

The findings, which are published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, also have implications for developing E-cigs for smoking cessation.

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