The study recruited 36 healthy participants who used both cigarettes and e-cigarettes. The amount of nicotine in the participants’ plasma was measured, alongside their level of nicotine withdrawal, urge to smoke and vape, affective states, cravings, and satisfaction and psychological reward from vaping as compared to smoking.
“Compared with cigarettes, average maximum plasma nicotine concentration (Cmax ) was lower with e-cigarettes [6.1 ± 5.5 ng/ml, mean ± standard deviation (SD) versus 20.2 ± 11.1 ng/ml, P < 0.001] and time of maximal concentration (Tmax) was longer (6.5 ± 5.4 versus 2.7 ± 2.4 minutes, P < 0.001),” said the researchers.
While both cigarettes and e-cigarettes reduced the severity of withdrawal symptoms, e-cigs reduced the cravings to a lesser degree than cigarettes.
Additionally, said the study Abstract, while both cigarettes and e-cigarettes reduced the severity of withdrawal symptoms, negative affect and the urge to use either were less rewarding in dual users and e-cigs reduced the cravings to a lesser degree than cigarettes. “Use of both products resulted in a reduction in the severity of withdrawal symptoms, negative affect and urge to use either product. E-cigarettes were less rewarding and satisfying and reduced craving to a lesser degree than cigarettes.”
Finally, no differences in withdrawal symptoms were observed. “We were not able to detect any differences in withdrawal symptoms, affective states and urge to smoke cigarettes between e-cigarette and cigarette use.”
The researchers concluded that nicotine exposure was lower with e-cigarettes. “Systemic nicotine exposure was, on average, lower with single use of e-cigarettes compared with cigarettes, and e-cigarettes were judged to be less satisfying and rewarding and reduced craving less than cigarettes.”
A 2017 study had reported similar findings. Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Center for Tobacco Products, the earlier study analysed tobacco use behavior in over 30,000 participants comprised of both young and mature adults. Five percent of the selected participants were vapers, while the remaining 95% were smokers. From the 5% e-cigarette users, 93% were ex-smokers, while the other 7% only experimented with cigarettes.
When it comes to vapers, researchers found that they tend to use their products later in the morning after waking up, in comparison to smokers. Additionally they were found to have less cravings, found it easier to refrain from using the products in restricted areas, and were less likely to consider themselves as addicts.