SHARE

The study titled Compensatory Puffing With Lower Nicotine Concentration E-liquids Increases Carbonyl Exposure in E-cigarette Aerosols, published on Nicotine and Tobacco Research, Oxford Academic, looked into whether this more intensive puffing leads to inhaling higher levels of carbonyl compounds, namely formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetone, and acrolein.

Nicotine addicts who are looking to satisfy their addiction, will just increase the frequency with which they use their devices in order to match up the nicotine levels they are used to, leading to an increase in consumption of any other risky substances that the vapor may contain.
The above compounds were measured in liquids and aerosols from nicotine solutions of 24 and 6 mg/mL. Aerosols were produced by using a smoking machine which was configured to replicate the puffing patterns obtained from 12 seasoned e-cig users.

Sadly, the Carbonyl levels in aerosols from the puffing regimen from the nicotine solution of 6 mg/mL were significantly higher (p < .05 ) than those in 24 mg/mL nicotine solution. “For the 6 and 24 mg/mL nicotine aerosols respectively, means ± SD for formaldehyde levels were 3.41 ± 0.94, and 1.49 ± 0.30 µg per hour (µg/h) of e-cigarette use. Means ± SD for acetaldehyde levels were 2.17 ± 0.36 and 1.04 ± 0.13 µg/h. Means ± SD for acetone levels were 0.73 ± 0.20 and 0.28 ± 0.14 µg/h. Acrolein was not detected.” read the study results.

Lowered nicotine does not equate to minimized harm

This study clearly indicates, that limiting the amount of nicotine in e-cigarettes (and other tobacco products for that matter), does not equate to harm reduction. Nicotine addicts who are looking to satisfy their addiction, will just increase the frequency with which they use their devices in order to match up the nicotine levels they are used to, leading to an increase in consumption of any other risky substances that the vapor may contain.

“Higher levels of carbonyls associated with more intensive puffing suggest that vapers switching to lower nicotine concentrations (either due to the EU-TPD implementation or personal choice), may increase their exposure to these compounds. Based on real human puffing topography data, this study suggests that limiting nicotine concentrations to 20 mg/mL may not result in the desired harm minimization effect.” Study Abstract

“Higher levels of carbonyls associated with more intensive puffing suggest that vapers switching to lower nicotine concentrations (either due to the EU-TPD implementation or personal choice), may increase their exposure to these compounds. Based on real human puffing topography data, this study suggests that limiting nicotine concentrations to 20 mg/mL may not result in the desired harm minimization effect.” concluded the study.

When vaping patterns matter

Scientists such as Konstantinos Farsalinos, Riccardo Polosa or Jacques Le Houezec often explain in their public statements that it is preferable to increase or keep nicotine levels high and vape less, than to reduce nic level at any cost but increase the volume of vapor inhaled daily.

Some economic data, however, clearly show that e-liquids in 6 mg / ml have gained the upper hand over liquids with more nicotine. This trend is accompanied by atomizers oriented towards vapor production, very low resistances and mods with increased powers, which consequently deliver more nicotine per puff.

The popularization of direct lung inhalation (DLI) is also of concern to researchers, because if vaping offers a significant tobacco harm reduction, vapor is not completely free of polluants. Increasing the volume of vapor with very large puffs, exposes the user to more toxins, especially aldehydes.

Reactions to the FDA’s tobacco plan announcement

  • Rojeans

    I’ve been saying this ever since ‘cloud chasing’ started to become popular. As a vendor myself, I’ve also been preaching it.

  • Murray_B

    Big Vaping companies are forcing vapers to increase power levels and juice consumption whether we want to or not.

    My first mod was an iStick mini [10 watt] and Aspire K-1 tank. The tank came with a 1.8 ohm atomizer with silica wicking that was rated to operate from 3.0 volts to 5.0 volts [5.0 watts to 13.9 watts] . The liquid I used back then was 12 mg /ml cigarette flavored. The setup worked great and I made a seamless transition from 46 years of smoking cigarettes to vaping. Things were going great until I had to replace the atomizer.

    Went down to the shop and bought some more Aspire 1.8 ohm coils and put one in. It produced almost no vapour in the 3.3 to 3.5 volt range I had been vaping at. When I looked at the new atomizer [with cotton wicking] it was marked 4.2 volt [9.8 watt] minimum so I increased the output to that value. The volume of vapour improved but the iStick’s 1050 mAh cell became exhausted in less than 90 minutes of vaping instead of the previous five or six hours. Today the only atomizer that Aspire makes for the K-1 tank that can operate at less than 8 watts is the 1.6 ohm and that one is becoming increasingly difficult to find. So are the small Aspire tanks and the iStick minis.

    It seems that all of the major vaping manufacturers have discontinued atomizers with coils that work well at five or six watts and the lightweight mods to power them. Big Vaping is leaving new vapers little choice but to vape 3 or 6 mg/ml juice at 15 watts or more with mods the size and weight of a brick. Big Vaping companies appear to be the primary cause of increased carbonyl exposure.

    • Alex Stacey

      far more accurate assessment than the one By Simon Rosselat, who thinks three or more years of cloud chasing, was ‘forced’ upon us by the much later implementation of the TPD.

    • Robert Harvey

      sorry but this is rubbish, nobody is forcing you to use anything, there are still devices available that work quite nicely at 10 watts and less if you choose to use them and you can still easily buy liquid with 18mg-0mg nicotine if you want it as well as coils that work nicely on low settings.
      I have been vaping for 3.5 years and personally although I mostly use a Subox mini that I use sub ohm and set mostly at 10-15 watts and very rarely exceed that with 18mg e-juice but also often use a Vamo V5 3-6 volts with 1.8 ohm coils, sometimes I even use a bog standard CE4 Clearomizer with it, I do what “I choose” and nobody is forcing me to use anything.
      I just bought an Aspire K3 that works great with 1.8ohm coils to use with my Vamo V5.
      what you choose to do is entirely up to you nobody is “forcing” you to do anything, what you do is your choice and yours alone and all the gear you need is available out there if you choose to use it.

      • Murray_B

        Thanks Robert but you have proven my point. I have always liked to vape at between 5 and 8 watts and that is becoming impossible unless I can find some old stock somewhere. My first mod worked great at 3.3 volts across a 1.8 ohm coil [about 6 watts] until they discontinued the low-power 1.8 ohm coil . Then Eleaf quit making the iStick minis and Aspire discontinued the K-1 tanks. Today a new vaper has no choice but to start at 10 watts or more and pay more money per puff than what I am used to. By next year Big vaping will probably increase the new “low-power” to 25 watts and operating costs will rise again.
        By the way my main mod which I use for 10 to 16 hours per day has a Cubis tank with 1.0 ohm coil running at 5 watts. I am still on the same coil I put in last December. How long do your coils last?

  • Laslo Fienstein

    Whenever any “scientific evidence” uses the phrase “may increase” it makes me ask – well if you’ve done the research, how come you can’t produce a definitive answer? And I therefore do not consider this to be helpful – it further muddies the water in a pool of generalisations and myths related to the vaping world/industry – I don’t need any more thank you – I’ve been vaping for just over 3 years and am now finding I can do physical activities that I thought were consigned to my past – I’m 59 and vape 3mg nicotine and have done for most of the 3 years. The vaping industry is not perfect – are any, but they are trying to learn about something that is still in it’s infancy – they produce what we ask them for – if it doesn’t suit our tastes, then no matter how it’s packaged, it is resigned to remain on the shelves. The biggest problem I’ve found new vapers have is uncertainty about how long a devices power will last? So having more power available means they can take that out of the equation. We know it’s not a “healthy” alternative to smoking, but it’s certainly a “healthier” option and should be encouraged.

    • Daniel Henschel

      In science, nothing is ever definitive. Everything is expressed in terms of probabilities, not certainties.

      • Robert Harvey

        not so, its a fact that if you put your hand in a fire you will burn it and that has been proved beyond doubt with science, if you were locked in a room where the oxygen was removed for 10 minutes you would die this has also been proved with science.
        there are many absolute certainties in science if you care to look for them.
        science has also proved that 50% of smokers will die an early death due to cigarette smoking, sadly the negative science surrounding e-cigarettes is all filled with either badly performed science that will never occur in the real world or speculation and assumption, science has yet to prove any definite link to anything that is anywhere close to cigarette smoking when e-cigarettes are used by humans.

  • Alex Stacey

    firstly, it’s a cop out to suggest vapers were forced into anything, however …

    this write-up appears to expose how many e-liquid companies devoid of higher nic options, are putting profit before harm reduction.