Everything I think I know about vaping vs analogs
by, 11-04-2009 at 12:55 AM (8005 Views)
Ecigs deliver the nicotine, plain and simple. The ability of ecigs to make ultralight and light smokers develop symptoms of nicotine overdose offers compelling evidence.
I've mentioned it before, but when comparing nicotine blood levels (nicotine has a short half-life of 2 hours) and cotinine blood levels (much longer half-life for cotinine around 20 hours), the peak blood nicotine level is over-emphasized since it drops rapidly.
What this means is that while nicotine level can vary between max and zero depending on the time of day, cotinine levels are much flatter, tending to stay within a narrow range determined by amount smoked overall... we replentish our blood cotinine levels via nicotine metabolism well within the half-life of cotinine, while simply sleeping for 8 hours can crater our blood nicotine levels.
One reason to question the various studies that suggest that ecigs don't deliver is they simply don't compare apples to apples.
I've gone through the following explanation before, but I'll repeat it here. The studies typically involve smoking a cigarette (probably a full flavor 1mg analog) versus 5 minutes of vaping a 16 mg ecig (probably not a good one like a 510, but more likely some wimpy one that nobody on these forums would be caught dead vaping).
The analog is well characterized, and the average smoker should get about 1 mg of nicotine from it. Let's look at the 16 mg ecig.
-16 mg/mL nicotine.
-approx 6 vapes/minute or 30 vapes/5 minutes.
Using what I've learned experimentally, a 3 second vape will consume 3 microliters of e-liquid, so 30 vapes like this will consume 90 microliters of e-liquid. 90 microliters of 16 mg/mL liquid contains 1.44 mg of nicotine, but the efficiency in getting the nicotine into the vapor is ~40%, so only 0.58 mg of nicotine makes it to the vapor. If we assume that 80% of the nicotine inhaled in the vapor is absorbed, then the ecig delivers 0.46 mg of nicotine... perhaps not as directly and quickly via the immediate lung absorption of analogs, but perhaps more slowly via mouth, throat, bronchial, and lung absorption.
So the ecig is handicapped even as the test begins. I've said it before and I'll repeat it here. If you want the puff for puff nicotine of a full flavor analog, you're going to need to use 36 mg e-liquid. If you want to know about absorption, you can look at acute fast absorption where the analog wins, but to look at total absorption.. what the habitual dose is, the following test would be much more telling:
Part one: Take one individual who has zero nicotine/cotinine in his/her system. Have him/her smoke a full flavor analog. Test nicotine peak, test cotinine after 8 hours.
Part two: Take the same individual with zero nicotine/cotinine in his/her system. Have them vape a decent ecig for 5 minutes at 36 mg. Test nicotine peak, test cotinine after 8 hours.
Of course we'll see a higher nicotine peak for the analog, analogs are better at FAST absorption. After 8 hours, I'd expect to see similar cotinine levels for the analog and ecig.
Crap test design = crap test results.
Crap data interpretation = crap conclusions.
I (along with most vapers) will grant that analogs are better at producing a higher peak nicotine level, but on the long term, if an analog is compared to the appropriate e-liquid concentration such that apples are being compared to apples instead of apples to oranges, then the results will be more useful and paint a more genuine picture.
Many smokers, myself included never really understood the whole "nicotine rush" thing. I'd get a mild one if I'd not smoked for a whole day, but after the first analog, the "nicotine rush" was gone for all subsequent analogs. Of course, many of us were light/ultralight smokers, and perhaps not very high on the "nicotine susceptibility" continuum.
So I'll say it one more time.. ecigs deliver the nicotine, just perhaps not as fast as some of the more nicotine addicted, full flavor smokers would like. Assuming these folks aren't overly MAOI addicted, it's not unusual to hear one of these folks tell us that they vape 60 mg liquid with good satisfaction (and we all react with horror and predictions of impending demise), but truth to tell, if someone was putting down three packs of Marlboro Reds/day, 60 mg liquid isn't likely to knock that person on his ... if ~3.5 mL is vaped over the course of a day, rather it will put him at break-ever versus his former 3 pack a day full flavor habit.
This is empirical observation, it is hypothesis, it is testing of hypothesis, it is scientific method used to pursue what is really happening, not what I think might be happening. It also involves me having to discard hypotheses that don't square up with empirical observations and observation of test results.. in favor of hypotheses that do square up with empirical observations and observations of test results.
Every bit of evidence I can gather, examine, and form further hypotheses on say that ecigs have no trouble delivering the nicotine, but the evidence is shouting that something else is going on that's not at all about nicotine, and that this something else is strongly relevant in a fraction of the vaping population, perhaps 25%, and less strongly relevant in another 25% of the vaping population. I currently suspect this something else to be MAOI alkaloids present in tobacco but not in e-liquid (and many thanks to all who have pointed my attention in this direction!). It may even be the whole witches-brew of alkaloids present in tobacco that work together, not just one or even just a handful of compounds.
On one of the threads, I divided smokers/vapers into four basic groups based on two theoretical criteria: 1) predisposition to nicotine addiction, and 2) predisposition to tobacco MAOI addiction.
Group 1: low predisposition to nicotine addiction, low predisposition to tobacco MAOI addiction.
Group 2: high predisposition to nicotine addiction, low predisposition to tobacco MAOI addiction.
Group 3: high predisposition to nicotine addiction, high predisposition to tobacco MAOI addiction.
Group 4: low predisposition to nicotine addiction, high predisposition to tobacco MAOI addiction.
Modeling on these these four groups:
We can expect group 1 to do fine vaping modest eliquid nicotine concentrations.
We can expect group 2 to do fine vaping higher eliquid nicotine concentrations.
We can expect group 3 to find vaping alone unsatisying. Supplementing vaping with some good strong Swedish snus, not that pale imitation Camel stuff, will likely calm these folks right down.
We can expect group 4 to find vaping alone unsatisfying. Supplementing vaping with some moderate strength Swedish snus, again not that pale imitation Camel stuff, should calm these folks right down.
(Most apparent MAIO-addicts I've spoken with on the forums will say that the Camel stuff does help somewhat and is not useless, but they're telling me that the good Swedish stuff puts it to shame).