Comparing Nicotine Absorption During E-cigarette Use and Combustible Cigarette Use

 Kavindra Sahabir ‘21

Figure 1: The different types of e-cigarettes appeal to different users, but ultimately have the same effects on the end user.

Thanks to multiple ad campaigns and public awareness efforts, it is now known that cigarette use among people of all ages and health levels is highly dangerous and heightens one’s risk of contracting serious diseases such as lung cancer. Used as a preventative measure, e-cigarettes have been touted as an aid to quit using cigarettes as they are said to deliver similar amounts of nicotine without the toxic chemicals present. In a study by Jessica Yingst and team, the amount of nicotine delivered by different e-cigarettes has been compared to the nicotine delivery of a traditional cigarette in order to determine whether e-cigarettes can serve as true alternatives to traditional cigarettes without the transmission of toxic chemicals. 

In this study, two types of e-cigarettes were studied: first generation devices, which are shaped like cigarettes and require no activation button, and second generation devices, which are larger than cigarettes and require activation before use. Fourteen e-cigarette users were asked to use their device every 20 seconds for 10 minutes as their blood was being drawn at multiple intervals up to 15 minutes after using their device. Users were also asked to rate certain physiological responses such as feelings of withdrawal among other subjective measures. Ten cigarette smokers were also asked to perform the same procedure, after which the results from both groups were compared and analyzed.

The results of this study showed that traditional cigarettes delivered more nicotine to the bloodstream than the first and second generation e-cigarette devices, with second generation devices delivering more nicotine than the first generation devices. However, users of both the first and second generation devices reported lesser feelings and symptoms of withdrawal, along with lesser reports of cravings for nicotine as compared to traditional cigarette users. This shows that e-cigarette use is a viable and appropriate alternative to traditional smoking, and can reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.



  1. J. Yingst, et al., Nicotine absorption during electronic cigarette use among regular users. Public Library of Science, (2019). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0220300
  2. Image retrieved from:


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