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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2015

Nicotine delivery, tolerability and reduction of smoking urge in smokers following short-term use of one brand of electronic cigarettes

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2015
Carl D. D’Ruiz, Donald W. Graff, X. Sherwin Yan
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

CDD is a full-time employee of ITG Brands, LLC, an affiliate of the study sponsor: Fontem U.S. Inc. XSY is former full-time employee of the Lorillard Tobacco Company, the predecessor of ITG Brands, LLC. DWG is an employee of Celerion, the contract research organization (CRO) that conducted the study.

Authors’ contributions

CDD and DWG conceived the original idea for the trial. CDD, DWG, and XSY prepared and finalized the study protocol. CDD managed all activities related to the conduct of the study with the CRO: Celerion. The paper was written by CDD with input from all co-authors. CDD is the guarantor for this paper. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Authors’ information

Not applicable.



This randomized, partially single-blinded, 6-period crossover clinical study of adult smokers compared the nicotine pharmacokinetics, impacts on smoking urge and tolerability of various formulations of one brand of e-cigarettes with that of a tobacco cigarette.


Five e-cigarettes with different e-liquid formulations containing 1.6 % and 2.4 % nicotine and a conventional tobacco cigarette were randomized among 24 subjects under two exposure sessions consisting of a 30-min controlled and a one-hour ad lib use period to assess plasma nicotine levels, impacts on smoking urge and adverse events. The 30-min controlled use session comprised an intensive use of the e-cigarettes with a total of 50 puffs taken every 30 s for comparison to a single conventional cigarette having a typical machine-measured nicotine yield (~0.8 mg). Ad lib product use conditions provided insight into more naturalistic product use behaviors and their accompanying smoking urge reductions. Adverse events (AEs) were assessed by the Principal Investigator.


Significant (p < 0.05) increases in plasma nicotine concentrations occurred within 10 min of controlled e-cigarette use and significant (p < 0.001) reductions from baseline smoking urge were observed within 5 min. E-cigarette and cigarette nicotine plasma levels were comparable for up to one hour of use. After both sessions (90 min), nicotine exposure was the highest for the cigarette, with all e-cigarettes showing 23 % to 53 % lower plasma concentrations. During controlled use, peak reduction in smoking urge for e-cigs occurred later than for the cigarette. After completion of both sessions, significant smoking urge reduction persisted for most of the tested e-cigarettes, albeit at levels lower than that provided by the tobacco cigarette. Nicotine content, vehicle differences, and the presence of menthol did not significantly affect smoking urge reduction by the e-cigarettes. No subjects were discontinued due to AEs. The most frequently reported AEs events included cough, throat irritation, headache, and dizziness.


Blood plasma nicotine levels obtained from short-term use of e-cigarettes containing 1.6 % and 2.4 % nicotine were significant, but lower than those of conventional tobacco cigarettes, yet the reduction in craving symptoms were broadly comparable. The types of AEs were consistent with other research studies of longer duration that have reported that use of e-cigarettes by adult smokers is well-tolerated.

Trial Registration identifier: NCT02210754. Registered 8 August 2014.
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