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Electronic nicotine delivery devices: ineffective nicotine delivery and craving suppression after acute administration
  1. Thomas Eissenberg
  1. Correspondence to Thomas Eissenberg, Department of Psychology and Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University, Box 980205, Richmond, Virginia, 23298, USA; teissenb{at}

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Electronic nicotine delivery devices (E-cigarettes) are marketed to deliver nicotine without tobacco toxicants and are sold in shopping malls and over the internet despite no published safety or efficacy data.1 2 These unregulated products consist of a battery, heater and cartridge containing a solution of nicotine, propylene glycol and other chemicals.3 Puffing activates the heater and the solution is vaporised and inhaled. Cartridges can be refilled using drops of solution sold in bottles labelled as containing over 500 mg nicotine, approximately 10 times the lethal dose. Some smokers emphasise the products' potential as a cessation aid,1 while some public health advocates highlight possible health risks and uncertain effects.1 4 Because there are no published studies examining the products' nicotine delivery or subjective and cardiovascular effect profile, this study examined how two brands of electronic nicotine delivery devices (E-cigarettes) influence plasma nicotine levels, heart rate and cigarette craving in cigarette smokers, and compared these effects to those produced by smokers' usual brand of cigarettes.


Using previously described methods,5 smokers in this institutional review board-approved clinical laboratory study (n=16; all naïve to electronic nicotine delivery devices (E-cigarettes): 5 women; 8 non-white; mean age=29.8 years, SD=10.7; mean cigarettes/day=18.5, SD=2.2) each provided informed consent and participated in 4 Latin-square ordered conditions (each separated by …

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  • Funding US National Cancer Institute, US NIH.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Virginia Commonwealth University.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.