A new study out of The School of Medicine, Washington University (Amy McQueen, Ph.D., Stephanie Tower, B.A., Walton Sumner, M.D.:


Introduction: Awareness and use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) has increased dramatically. Electronic Nicotine Delivery Devices deliver an aerosol comprised usually of water, propylene glycol and/or glycerin, nicotine, and flavorings. Scant research exists to evaluate the efficacy and safety of such devices, and only one quantitative survey of European users (N = 81) has been published. This qualitative study explores e-cig users’ (“vapers”) experiences.

Methods: Participants attended a convention or club meeting in St. Louis, MO, and were interviewed individually or in small groups. Qualitative methods were used to analyze interview data for both deductive and emergent themes to broad research questions.

Results: Even with a relatively small sample of formal participants (N = 15), there were pervasive themes including the language and culture of vaping; social and informational support among vapers and their use of Internet resources (learning about e-cigs); the learning curve to using e-cigs and the numerous modifications (“mods”) available for e-cigs and personal vaporizers; motives and perceived benefits of using e-cigs versus cigarettes including cigarette-like enjoyment, cost, restored sense of taste and smell, and improved breathing and exercise tolerance; rapidly reduced nicotine tolerance and dependence; and a strong interest in e-cig–related research and policy.

Conclusions: The learning curve to using e-cigs has important implications for laboratory tests of these devices with novice users. Similarly, the multiple e-cig options and the use of “mods” create challenges for researchers and policy makers. Transdisciplinary research is urgently needed, and experienced “vapers” are very interested and willing research participants.

Interviews With

I originally posted this in the news subforum, but realized that it was probably more appropriately posted here.

You can read the full article by downloading it from the website . . . and it's definitely worth a read.

One thing that I particularly liked about this paper is that while the authors are certainly interested in examining e-cigarettes in the context of traditional smoking cessation, there's also a recognition of e-cigarettes being used as a long-term substitute for smoking.

Best yet, while the authors discuss the necessity of more research (which we all agree is of vital importance), there's no hysterical call for e-cigarettes to be pulled from the shelves until they can be proven "safe and effective."

One of my favorite quotes:

Researchers and public health advocates have expressed concerns about e-cigs and caution against their use until independent research is conducted (Abrams & Zeller, 2009; Henningfield & Zaatari, 2010; Pauly et al., 2007; Yamin, Bitton, & Bates, 2010). However, current e-cig users will not be deterred. Vapers endorsed e-cigs as “life-saving” and favored unknown e-cig risks over known cigarette smoking risks, despite concerns about long-term health risks and quality control for liquids and components.
(emphasis mine.)

Nope. We won't be deterred.

In any event, it's nice to see some balanced research starting to come out, along with some sensible ideas for research that needs to be conducted.