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Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) 2018 Poster

Retrospective Survey on Switching Patterns of Experienced Vapers

In 2017 the German Vapers Organization (IG-ED) conducted a survey with over 2.000 participants. Like all Internet surveys it has a selection bias, but here it aids in evaluating empirical data from the most successful vapers.

The main focus of the survey was the transition phase from smoking to vaping. Initial purpose was to provide current smokers with useful information on how the most successful vapers made the switch.

(1) Nicotine Concentration

Nicotine Concentration (1)

The average nicotine concentration during a successful switch has continuously dropped. Today it is about half of what it was at the beginning. Possible explanations:

  • improved devices
  • an increasing number of people switching to vaping direct lung (DL) instead of mouth to lung (MTL)
Transition year n Nicotine [mg/ml]
2010 65 15.2
2011 133 13.5
2012 137 13.5
2013 129 12.3
2014 283 12.3
2015 385 11.0
2016 447 9.8
2017 440 8.1
Grand Total 2019 10.8

 

(2) Liquid Consumption

Liquid Consumption (2)

The liquid consumption during the transition phase has grown steadily since 2014. Possible explanations:

  • An increasing percentage of DL switchers.
Year of Transition n Liquid [ml]
2010 65 5.23
2011 133 4.85
2012 137 4.59
2013 129 5.36
2014 283 5.29
2015 385 5.40
2016 447 6.04
2017 440 6.57
Grand Total 2019 5.68

 

(3) Nicotine Amount per Day

Nicotine Amount per Day (3)

The average total amount of nicotine during the transition phase has fallen over the years from 75 mg per day to 47 mg per day. Possible explanations:

  • improved devices
  • change in vaping technique (DL vs. MTL)
Year of Transition n Nicotine Amount per Day [mg]
2010 65 75.0
2011 133 67.9
2012 137 60.8
2013 129 66.7
2014 283 61.4
2015 385 55.0
2016 447 55.0
2017 440 46.9
Grand Total 2019 56.8

 

(4) Change in Transition Duration

Change in Transition Duration (4)

Plainly declining trend. Average duration of the transition phase has fallen from 10 weeks to less than 4 weeks. Possible explanations:

  • better vaping devices
  • percentage of people fully intending to switch has grown
Year of Transition n Weeks
2010 63 9.9
2011 131 11.8
2012 132 8.4
2013 122 8.9
2014 260 6.5
2015 363 5.7
2016 424 3.7
2017 407 3.5
Grand Total 1902 5.8

 

(5) Average Duration of Transition Phase

Average Duration of Transition Phase (5)

Correlation between the duration of the transition phase and the number of previously smoked cigarettes. The more cigarettes were smoked, the longer the transition phase. Most participants had smoked 11 to 40 cigarettes per day.

Cigarettes per day n Weeks
3 16 2.8
8 50 2.9
13 118 4.5
18 386 5.4
25.5 765 6.6
35.5 339 4.7
45 228 7.2
Grand Total 1902 5.8

Interactive Online Nicotine Calculator

https://ig-ed.org/2018/05/nicotine-calculator/

Data, this calculator is based on:

Vaping technique direct lung mouth to lung Grand Total
Cigarettes per day Nicotine per day [mg] Nicotine strength [mg/ml] Liquid [ml] n Nicotine per day [mg] Nicotine strength [mg/ml] Liquid [ml] n Nicotine per day [mg] Nicotine strength [mg/ml] Liquid [ml] n
13 31.00 4.71 6.38 28 40.58 9.24 4.27 51 37.18 7.63 5.02 79
18 41.49 6.54 7.14 70 45.19 10.67 4.52 156 44.04 9.39 5.33 226
25.5 43.27 5.60 8.42 142 58.85 12.45 4.87 297 53.81 10.23 6.02 439
35.5 43.42 5.33 8.69 49 60.80 12.68 4.99 107 55.34 10.37 6.15 156
45 69.34 7.56 10.11 32 76.62 13.52 5.90 61 74.12 11.47 7.35 93
Grand Total 44.43 5.88 8.17 321 56.22 11.92 4.86 672 52.41 9.97 5.93 993

 

Filters:

Column Used Excluded Reason
Cigarettes per day * 3(17), 8(51) Too few participants
Vaping technique * dl + mtl(331) Few participants, data not useful
Year of Transition [2015,2016,2017] 2010(65), 2011(133), 2012(137), 2013(129), 2014(283) Massive change in hardware after 2014

 

Since the purpose of the nicotine calculator is to calculate a reasonable suggestion for current smokers on what nicotine strength to select when starting, we used only the data from those vapers who switched after 2014. Before that date the available hardware was rather inferior to current products and thus the experience of vapers switching back then isn't applicable  for smokers switching today.

(6) Daily Nicotine Amount

Daily Nicotine Amount (6)

The total amount of nicotine per day correlates almost linearly with the number of previously smoked cigarettes. The more cigarettes someone used to smoke, the more total nicotine per day is necessary for switching. But heavy smokers apparently get less nicotine from a single cigarette than people who smoke less. Thus the slope is less steep than expected. The total amount also depends on the vaping technique. We assume that vaping technique (DL/MTL) has a strong influence on the nicotine kinetics. More studies are necessary. The survey data were used to establish an algorithm for a Nicotine Calculator, which provides reliable recommendations for successful switching (from smoking to vaping).

Vaping technique direct lung mouth to lung Grand Total
Cigarettes per Day n Nicotine [mg] n Nicotine [mg] n Nicotine [mg]
13 33 34.3 60 38.8 93 37.2
18 83 40.1 210 46.7 293 44.8
25.5 166 44.8 417 59.2 583 55.1
35.5 58 50.9 174 68.1 232 63.8
45 36 71.5 98 75.0 134 74.1
Grand Total 376 46.3 959 58.4 1335 55.0

Filters:

Column Used Excluded Reason
Cigarettes per Day * 3(17), 8(51) Too few participants
Vaping technique * dl + mtl(331) Too  few participants
Year of Transition [2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017] 2010(65), 2011(133), 2012(137) Too few participants and dramatic change in available hardware

 

(6a) Nicotine per Cigarette

This calculation clarifies the interesting conclusion that heavier smokers seem to get less nicotine from each cigarette.

Cigarettes per day n Nicotine [mg] Nicotine/Cigarette [mg]
13 135 39.4 3.0
18 406 44.5 2.5
25.5 811 56.1 2.2
35.5 359 68.4 1.9
45 240 82.0 1.8
Grand Total | 27.3 1951 58.0 2.1

Filters:

Column Excluded Reason
Cigarettes per day 3(17), 8(51) Too few participants

 

(7) Daily Nicotine Amount: Compare Switch Point vs Now

Daily Nicotine Amount: Compare Switch Point vs Now (7)

Daily amount of nicotine at switch time compared to the amount at the time of the survey. On average vapers reduced their daily amount of nicotine after switching by 40 % (36 % to 45 %). The data indicate that the participants reduced not just the nicotine concentration over time, but also their total daily amount of nicotine. This contradicts the common claim that switching to vaping just replaces one addiction by another. It also casts doubt on any addiction maintaining property of nicotine.

Cigarettes per Day n Nicotine per Day at Switch point [mg] Nicotine per Day Now [mg] %
13 135 39.4 24.8 -37
18 406 44.5 28.9 -35
25.5 811 56.1 33.8 -40
35.5 359 68.4 37.9 -45
45 240 82.0 46.4 -43
Grand Total 1951 58.0 34.5 -40

Filters:

Column Excluded Reason
Cigarettes per Day 3(17), 8(51) Too few participants

(8) Vaping Technique during Transition Phase

Vaping Technique during Transition Phase (8)

Vaping techniques during the transition phase between 2010 and 2017. Since 2014 we see a significant shift from MTL to DL Possible explanations:

  • Development of DL devices for the mass market from 2014
  • Increasing share of DL devices in shops
  • “Promotion” of cloud chasing by mass media articles
Year of Transition direct lung mouth to lung dl + mtl total % direct lung % mouth to lung % dl + mtl
2010 7 48 10 65 10.8 73.8 15.4
2011 14 107 12 133 10.5 80.5 9.0
2012 8 118 11 137 5.8 86.1 8.0
2013 21 91 17 129 16.3 70.5 13.2
2014 35 200 48 283 12.4 70.7 17.0
2015 72 245 68 385 18.7 63.6 17.7
2016 120 248 79 447 26.8 55.5 17.7
2017 154 200 86 440 35.0 45.5 19.5
Grand Total 431 1257 331 2019 21.3 62.3 16.4

 

(9) Nicotine Concentration in Dependence of Vaping Technique

Nic. Concentration in Dependence of Vaping Technique (9)

Average nicotine concentration by vaping technique during the transition years from 2014 to 2017. The nicotine concentration in the transition phase has dropped from 2014 to 2017 (DL: 33 %; MTL: 22 %; mixed: 25 %). Possible explanations:

  • improved devices (e.g. more power)
direct lung dl + mtl mouth to lung
Year of Transition n Nicotine [mg/ml] n Nicotine [mg/ml] n Nicotine [mg/ml]
2014 35 7.6 48 10.3 200 13.6
2015 72 7.0 68 9.4 245 12.7
2016 120 5.6 79 9.7 248 11.9
2017 154 5.1 86 7.7 200 10.6
Grand Total 381 5.8 281 9.1 893 12.2

Filters:

Column Excluded Reason
Year of Transition 2010(65), 2011(133), 2012(137), 2013(129) Too few participants

 

(10) Decrease in Nicotine Concentration from Switch to Now

The more cigarettes were smoked previously, the more vapers reduced their nicotine concentration over time. Possible explanations:

  • heavy smokers more often start as MTL and later switch to DL
  • early vapers were mostly heavy smokers and started with inferior devices
Cigarettes per day n Difference in Nicotine Concentration [mg/ml]
13 135 4.5
18 405 5.6
25.5 810 6.8
35.5 359 7.7
45 240 8.4
Grand Total 1949 6.8

Filters:

Column Excluded Reason
Cigarettes per day 3(17), 8(51) Too few participants

 

Conclusion

Results from over 2.000 participants show that the total amount of nicotine per day is strongly correlated with the number of cigarettes smoked and the vaping technique. Based on this data, we developed an online nicotine calculator to better understand the switch from smoking to vaping.

The daily nicotine intake is not directly scaleable by the number of cigarettes smoked. Heavy smokers get less nicotine from each cigarette than regular smokers. We also found that vapers tend to significantly reduce their initial daily nicotine intake after switching.

Authors

Dölfel, Rainer (PhD)
Hallermann, Marc (Dipl.-Ing.)
Maaß, Sabine
Schmidt, Norbert “Zillatron” (Dipl.-Inform.)
Schuster, Peter

2 Gedanken zu „Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) 2018 Poster

  1. Vielen Dank für diese Infos. Für mich ist das eine gute Orientierungshilfe bezügl. durchschnittlichem Nikotinbedarf, Umstiegsdauer, usw . Ich bin gerade beim Umstieg – von 40+ Zigaretten (43 Jahre lang) zu aktuell zwischen 5-7 – nach einigen Wochen dampfen. Ich hatte allerdings massive Probleme mit den Liquids (zu süss, scharf, Gefühl von Belag im Rachen, zu wenig Nikotin, 4 mg/ml, weil meine Lunge bei mehr als max. 5 mg/ml streikt). Inzwischen habe ich zumindest 1 Liquid gefunden und seither geht’s voran… Als Österreicherin gibt’s auch noch ein paar andere Probleme (Versandhandelverbot). Ich bin Mitglied beim österreichischen Dampferclub, OECD (nachdem ich einen entsprechenden Hinweis von Philgood in einem seiner Videos sah).

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