Nicotine nasal spray and vapor inhaler: abuse liability assessment

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1997 Apr;130(4):352-61. doi: 10.1007/s002130050250.


Acute subjective and physiological effects were examined to provide information relevant to abuse liability of new nicotine delivery systems. Subjects (n = 12) were overnight-deprived smokers who received 0, 4, 8 and 16 active puffs from nicotine-containing cigarettes (0.1 mg per puff), 0, 1, 2 or 4 nasal sprays (0.5 mg nicotine per spray) and 0, 30, 60 and 120 vapor inhalations (estimated 0.013 mg nicotine per inhalation) in a within-subject single blinded design. While smokers clearly liked cigarette puffs, there was much less evidence of liking produced by either nasal spray or vapor inhaler; only modest elevations on a measure of good drug effects were observed. The novel delivery products engendered unpleasant effects of burning throat and nose, watery eyes, runny nose, coughing and sneezing that might be expected to limit abuse liability. Nicotine plasma level and heart rate increase was dose-related for cigarettes and nasal spray but not for vapor inhaler, indicating limited nicotine delivery with the latter device. Overall, results are consistent with the conclusion that the nicotine nasal spray and vapor inhaler are of substantially lower abuse liability than cigarettes in experienced cigarette smokers receiving initial exposure to these products.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Female
  • Heart / drug effects
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage*
  • Nicotine / blood
  • Nicotinic Agonists / administration & dosage*
  • Nicotinic Agonists / blood
  • Smoking
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Stimulation, Chemical
  • Substance-Related Disorders*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / drug therapy


  • Nicotinic Agonists
  • Nicotine