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Farsalinos vaping study compares nicotine levels of e-cigs, HnB, and cigarettes

A new study published by Dr. Konstantinos E. Farsalinos tries to clarify some of the confusion surrounding Heat-not-Burn (HnB) technology.  The world-class cardiologist and scientific researcher from the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Greece is also one of vaping’s most dedicated and esteemed advocates.  In his recent study, Farsalinos evaluates the nicotine levels produced from HnB devices compared to both cigarette smoke and the vapor from three different vaping systems. 

The study entitled Nicotine delivery to the aerosol of a heat-not-burn tobacco product: comparison with a tobacco cigarette and e-cigarettes is readily available for review in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (NCBI).  For vapers who might be unfamiliar with this new form of smoking cessation offered by Big Tobacco companies, Heat-not-Burn technology “heats” the leaves of real tobacco plants to temperatures that are lower than those of tobacco “burned” via traditional combustion products (cigarettes).  And many scientists believe that the “burning” of tobacco is what ultimately causes so much of the toxins and carcinogens associated with smoking.


Vaping, on the other hand, is essentially 100% tobacco-free.  Electronic cigarettes contain something called e-liquid, which is a basic mixture of vegetable glycerin (found in many ordinary grocery products), propylene glycol (safe and relatively tasteless and odorless), included flavorings, and water.  Since e-cigs contain no tobacco, public health agencies like the Royal College of Physicians in the UK have proven successfully that vaping is approximately 95% safer and healthier than smoking. 

So where does HnB technology fall into this vast window of tobacco harm reduction?  Dr. Farsalinos wants to find out - by evaluating the nicotine delivery levels of both vaping and HnB technology as compared to conventional smoking. 

Overview of the Farsalinos HnB Study

  • The HnB devices were purchased through a third-party vendor from Italy.
  • Three types of e-cigarettes were also used in the study: A simple cigalike (like a Blu cigarette, for example), an eGo-style vaping device, and a variable wattage vape mod.
  • The included e-liquid was custom-manufactured to ensure a 1.99 to 2.00 percentage of nicotine.
  • The nicotine levels from the vapor or smoke derived from each of the HnB, e-cigs, and combustible tobacco products were all measured using the same “Health Canada Intense puffing regime (a “smoking machine” of some kind).”
  • Both the HnB and the e-cig technologies were also measured a second time at 4-second puff durations consisting of the same puff volume.


According to the Farsalinos study, the amount of nicotine delivered to the end user by way of the HnB technology was lower than that of conventional cigarettes and was almost identical to the nicotine levels of the vapor from eGo style and variable wattage vaporizers.  Cigalike vapor scored a bit lower.  Meanwhile, when tested with the longer, 4-second puff durations, the HnB technology did not produce an increase in nicotine delivery levels.  However, the e-cig options did produce more nicotine in the associated vapor.

“The main findings were that the tobacco sticks contained similar nicotine concentration to tobacco cigarettes, and that the levels nicotine delivered to the aerosol of the heat-not-burn products were lower than tobacco cigarette, higher than e-cigarettes at low puff duration but lower than high-power e-cigarettes at longer puff duration.”

So, for vapers who vape because they want a bigger does of nicotine in their lives, vaping seems to be the better option according to the Farsalinos study.  Unlike HnB technology where the nicotine levels remain relatively constant no matter how big the puff, vaping gives you “more bang for their buck.”  The more you vape, the more nicotine you inhale.

And as study after study has already proven, it’s not the nicotine that kills you.  It’s the thousands of toxins and carcinogens found in combustible cigarette smoke that will.


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