Study Shows that Vaping is Not about Nicotine

Anybody who is in the industry could tell you that ecigarettes are a tool for reducing or eliminating nicotine.

The disconnect between understanding and regulating ecigarettes is stark however.  The notion of “Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems,” or “ENDS” as a product category expresses a laughable lack of familiarity.  No wonder the vape community has its own terminology, namely “Vapor Product” and “Vape” to describe what an ecigarette is.

Claims that they help you “quit smoking” are of course regulated with a vengeance by the FDA, but a cursory introduction to the massive variety of ejuice flavors and concentrations available makes it obvious:  Step into a vape shop and most commercial flavors are mixed in descending levels of nicotine concentration from the cigarette equivalent of 2.4mg down to 0mg /no nicotine, with most advanced users rarely venturing above 0.3mg nicotine.

DIY mixers focus on the flavor and PG/VG ratio and the flavor profiles, and cloud chasers are all about tweaking their juice and coils for big clouds.  Nicotine is an afterthought, if it is used.  Additionally, recipes for an ejuice don’t need to specify nicotine, since most likely it is actively being reduced by the user in each new ejuice, or eliminated by whoever follows the recipe.

A new study confirms these widespread misconceptions about vapor products.

What are kids vaping? Results from a National Survey of US Adolescents

From the synopsis:

Data come from Monitoring the Future, an annual, nationally representative survey of USA 12th-grade, 10th-grade and 8th-grade students. Respondents reported what substance they vaped the last time they used a vaporiser such as an e-cigarette.

Results Among students who had ever used a vaporiser, 65–66% last used ‘just flavouring’ in 12th, in 10th and in 8th grade, more than all other responses combined. In all three grades, the percentage using ‘just flavouring’ was above 57% for males, females, African-Americans, Hispanics, Whites, and students both with and without a parent with a college degree. Nicotine use came in a distant second, at about 20% in 12th and 10th grade and 13% in 8th grade. Taking into account youth who vaped nicotine at last use increases national estimates of tobacco/nicotine prevalence in the past 30 days by 24–38% above and beyond cigarette smoking, which is substantial but far less than estimates that assume all vaporiser users inhale nicotine.

Conclusions These results challenge the common assumption that all vaporiser users inhale nicotine. They (a) call into question the designation of vaporisers and e-cigarettes as ENDS (‘Electronic Nicotine Delivery System’), (b) suggest that the recent rise in adolescent vaporiser use does not necessarily indicate a nicotine epidemic, and (c) indicate that vaporiser users can be candidates for primary prevention programmes. Finally, the results suggest the importance of developing different rationales for the regulation of vaporiser devices as compared to the regulation of substances marketed for vaporiser use.