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.
"We found that e-cigarettes appear to be less addictive than tobacco cigarettes in a large sample of long-term users," said Jonathan Foulds, Ph.D., professor of public health sciences and psychiatry, Penn State College of Medicine.
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.
"However, people with all the characteristics of a more dependent e-cig user (e.g. longer use of an advanced e-cig with a high nicotine concentration in the liquid) in our study 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."
Read the full article at Newswise.