Nicotine absorption from electronic cigarette use: comparison between experienced consumers (vapers) and naïve users (smokers)

Sci Rep. 2015 Jun 17:5:11269. doi: 10.1038/srep11269.


Electronic cigarettes (ECs) are nicotine delivery devices that are proposed as tobacco harm reduction products to smokers. Nicotine delivery from ECs is potentially important in their efficacy as smoking substitutes. Herein, nicotine delivery from using a new-generation EC device (variable-wattage, set at 9 W) was evaluated, comparing experienced (vapers) with naïve users (smokers). Twenty-four vapers and 23 smokers participated to the study. They were asked to obtain 10 puffs in 5 minutes and then use the EC ad lib for 60 more minutes (total duration of use: 65 minutes). An 18 mg/mL nicotine-containing liquid was used. Blood samples were obtained at baseline, 5-minutes and every 15 minutes thereafter, while number of puffs and average puff duration were recorded. Although at baseline both groups had similar plasma nicotine levels, smokers consistently exhibited lower levels at all time-periods; at 5-minutes the levels were lower by 46%, while during the subsequent period they were lower by 43% (at 65-minutes) to 54% (at 20-minutes). Both groups took similar number of puffs, but smokers had average puff duration of 2.3 s compared to 3.5 s in vapers. Even in vapers, plasma nicotine levels at 5 minutes were lower than those observed after smoking 1 tobacco cigarette.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Adult
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nicotine / blood
  • Nicotine / metabolism*
  • Smoking
  • Tobacco Use Disorder


  • Nicotine