Initial ratings of different types of e-cigarettes and relationships between product appeal and nicotine delivery.
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AIMS: Little is known about features of e-cigarettes (EC) that facilitate or hinder the switch from smoking to vaping. We tested eight brands of EC to determine how nicotine delivery and other product characteristics influence user's initial reactions. METHODS: Fifteen vapers tested each product after overnight abstinence from both smoking and vaping. At each session, participant's vaped ad lib for 5 min. Blood samples were taken at baseline and at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 30 min after starting vaping. Participants rated the products on a range of characteristics. The products tested included six 'cig-a-like' and two refillable products, one with variable voltage. We also tested participants' own EC. RESULTS: All products significantly reduced urges to smoke. Refillable products delivered more nicotine and received generally superior ratings in terms of craving relief, subjective nicotine delivery, throat hit and vapour production but in overall ratings, they were joined by a cig-a-like, Blu. Participants puffed more on low nicotine delivery products. Participants' estimates of nicotine delivery from different EC were closely linked to 'throat hit'. Nicotine delivery was less important in the initial product ratings than draw resistance, mouthpiece comfort and effects on reducing urge to smoke. CONCLUSIONS: All EC products reduced urges to smoke. Refillable products received generally more favourable ratings than 'cig-a-likes' with similar nicotine content. Perception of nicotine delivery was guided by throat sensations. Lower nicotine delivery was associated with more frequent puffing. The first impressions of EC products are guided less by nicotine delivery than by sensory signals.