Vaping study suggests high-nicotine e-liquids offer better odds to quit smoking

A new vaping study suggests that smokers who want to quit long-term should start vaping with an e-liquid with a high-nicotine concentration of about 24mg.  Lower doses are also effective, but the number of quit attempts and the reduction in daily cigarette intake seems to rise and fall according to the amount of nicotine being vaped.

Scientists are also quick to point out that the e-liquid’s nicotine level is only one determining factor.  Individual smoking habits and vaping preferences also come into play.

Lead author Dr. Matthew Carpenter of the Hollings Cancer center at the Medical University of South Carolina also states that the study’s findings are further supported and closely mimic those of other research projects of a similar nature conducted abroad.  He also notes that many of the participants of the study found vaping in high nicotine dosages to be nearly equally as satisfying as smoking.

“The results are consistent with trials done outside the US…Many people rated the e-cigarettes similar to their usual product, which further suggests that these products might promote switching. Anything that gets smokers off combustible cigarettes is a good thing.”

The study is entitled A Naturalistic, Randomized Pilot Trial of E-Cigarettes: Uptake, Exposure, and Behavioral Effects.  The report was published in December in the medical journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention (CEBP).

Overview of the Hollings vaping study

The research project is deemed a pilot study, which suggests that this is the first in a series of upcoming studies regarding the effectiveness of vaping as a tobacco harm reduction tool.  It is also a likely reason for the study’s rather small number of initial participants.

  • 68 smokers participated in the study.
  • 48 were randomly selected to try switching to vaping as a possible smoking cessation tool.
  • 22 were randomly selected as the control group.
  • The 48 smokers-turned-vapers were split into two groups:
    • Group One used 24 mg e-liquid
    • Group Two used 16mg e-liquid
  • The Hollings team provided free electronic cigarettes filled with the appropriate e-liquid for a period of only three weeks.
  • Meanwhile, the scientists tracked the progress of each participant over a longer duration of four months.
  • Group One Statistics:
    • 48 percent maintained regular use of their 24mg e-cig for the full three weeks of the initial stage.
    • 57% made an independent purchase of a similar product over the remaining months of the trail.
  • Group Two Statistics:
    • 30 percent maintained regular use of their 16mg e-cig for the full three weeks of the initial stage.
    • 28% made an independent purchase of a similar product over the remaining months of the trail.
  • Control Group:
    • 14 percent made an independent purchase of a vaping product during the four-month trail.
  • Compared to the control group, participants who engaged in vaping reported smoking fewer cigarettes while increasing their quit attempts proportional to the liquid nicotine concentrations being vaped.

For newbies to vaping, choosing the proper levels of nicotine concentration in an e-liquid can sometimes be a confusing task.  After all, what typical smoker knows the amount of nicotine that they smoke every day?  The Hollings study suggests that first-time vapers should probably choose e-juices with higher levels of nicotine if they truly want to quit smoking long-term.  The higher levels tend to produce vaping experiences that more closely resemble those of smoking  combustible cigarettes while substantially  decreasing the chances of permanent relapse back into smoking.


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