Our Thoughts

//Clinical research study suggests vaping nicotine salt e-liquids closely replicates the delivery of nicotine provided by smoking cigarettes

Posted 02/03/2020 9:15am

By Grant O’Connell, study author and Strategic Science and Policy Engagement Director

Our clinical research suggests that vaping nicotine salt e-liquids closely replicates the delivery of nicotine provided by smoking cigarettes.

Published in a special edition of the prestigious journal Internal and Emergency Medicine, the study shows that nicotine salts potentially play a central role in adult smokers’ successful journey away from smoking.

Nicotine salts are slightly different in chemical composition and stability to the freebase nicotine found in many conventional vapes. Unlike freebase, nicotine salts remain in the inhaled aerosol until it reaches the lungs, where it is absorbed more quickly. This provides more instant satisfaction, which many vapers find more akin to smoking.

In the study, 15 healthy adult smokers’ responses to five different blu e-vapour products were measured over 6 days. Subjects were evaluated consecutively on different days after using a cigarette, and the ensuing rise in nicotine blood levels following the use of all the tested e-vapour formulations was cited as ‘satisfying’ in terms of relieving the desire to smoke.

The study came to several key conclusions:

  • No acute adverse health effects of product use were observed.
  • myblu’s 40mg/mL nicotine salt variant appears to be optimal in terms of most closely replicating the nicotine delivery of a cigarette, which could be a key factor in facilitating permanent smoker switching. However, current EU regulations permit an arbitrary maximum of 20mg/mL in e-vapour products.
  • Exposure to nicotine via all forms of vaping in the trial was considerably lower in comparison with cigarettes. For instance, the exposure to nicotine with myblu’s 16 mg/mL nicotine salt formulation was 63% less nicotine than a cigarette, while exposure with the 40mg/mL variant was 41% less.

Our clinical findings suggest that e-vapour devices with a higher concentration of nicotine in nicotine salt form may be more effective – and more appealing – to adult smokers switching from cigarettes to vaping.

While there is a growing scientific evidence that vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking, only a minority of smokers have fully switched to vaping. For example, in the UK there are an estimated 7.4 million adults who continue to smoke.

While conflicting information in both the scientific press and mainstream media may be deterring many smokers from even trying vaping, both this study and real-world evidence suggests that current e-vapour devices may not be providing smokers with the satisfaction they derive from cigarettes.

In our study, the myblu Intense 40 mg/mL nicotine salt product had the closest nicotine uptake profile to cigarettes, while also providing the greatest relief in subjects’ desire to smoke. However, under current EU regulations, this product is not permitted.

This potentially limits the effectiveness of vaping as a smoking substitute, especially in the case of heavier smokers – a view shared by the UK Government’s House of Commons Science and Technology committee.

Take a look at our infographic below to learn more about nicotine salts and how they may help adult smokers transition away from cigarettes, or download the high resolution pdf.

You are free to share this content with credit to Imperial Brands under a Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-ND 4.0) license.

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