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Ruether, Tobias; Hagedorn, Dieter; Schiela, Konstantin; Schettgen, Thomas; Osiander-Fuchs, Helga; Schober, Wolfgang (2018): Nicotine delivery efficiency of first- and second-generation e-cigarettes and its impact on relief of craving during the acute phase of use. In: International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, Vol. 221, No. 2: pp. 191-198
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Knowledge about the change in blood nicotine concentrations during the first five minutes (acute phase) of e-cigarette vaping is important to determine whether the used product has a dependence potential or may be an efficient nicotine replacement product. To address this issue, we monitored blood nicotine levels during the acute phase in volunteers using disposable cigalikes (CLs) and a tank model (TM) and compared them with blood nicotine levels in subjects using a tobacco cigarette (TC). In parallel, heart rate changes were continually measured and withdrawal symptoms and craving were assessed with the Questionnaire on Smoking Urges before and immediately after the vaping/smoking sessions. Additionally, at the end of each session negative health effects were rated on a visual analog scale. After five minutes of e-cigarette or TC use, the mean nicotine plasma concentrations were as follows: CLs, 5.5 ng/ml;TM, 9.3 ng/ml;TC, 17.1 ng/ml. Nicotine levels increased significantly faster in the first 4 min of consuming a TC than with the CLs and the TM. The highest rate of increase in nicotine concentration was found with the TC (6.8 ng/ml) and TM (2.3 ng/ml) between the 1st and 2nd minute, whereas the CLs showed comparatively small changes in the amount delivered over the five minutes. Withdrawal and craving for smoking decreased with the TM by the same amount as with the TC, even though less nicotine was delivered to the blood and considerably fewer side effects occurred. The heart rate of TM users was also markedly lower than that of the TC users. Unlike CLs, TM e-cigarettes represent an effective source of nicotine and might be used as an alternative nicotine replacement product to aid smoking cessation. However, nicotine plasma levels observed in TM users after short-time vaping have also the potential to produce and sustain nicotine addiction.