The use of e-cigarettes with lower nicotine concentration e‐liquid may be associated with compensatory behaviour that increases exposure to toxins, according to new research funded by Cancer Research UK.
The study, published in the journal Addiction, examined vaping behaviour, subjective effects, nicotine intake, and exposure to acrolein and formaldehyde in high vs low nicotine concentration e‐cigarette users in their everyday setting.
Among the 20 participants, people using low nicotine e-liquid puffed more deeply and more often than those using high nicotine liquid. Those using low nicotine also increased the power of their vaping devices when possible.
Urge to vape and withdrawal symptoms were lower, and nicotine intake was higher, in the high nicotine condition (main effects of nicotine: P<.01). While acrolein levels did not differ, there was a significant nicotine × power interaction for formaldehyde (P<.05).
Lead author, Dr. Lynne Dawkins from the London South Bank University, 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.”