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A recent UK vaping study has concluded that vaping lower nicotine concentration e-liquid may be associated with compensatory behaviors (more puffs, more frequently) and could lead to negative side effects and an increase in the urge to vape. The four week analysis was performed by Cancer Research UK was carried out from September 2016 – February 2017 and involved 20 participants from London and South East England areas.

The study was designed with vapers in mind, and utilized ‘real world’ testing hardware including: Joytech Evic Supremes and the Aspire Nautilus tank. Four different vaping conditions were used to gather information: low nicotine (6mg) fixed power, low nicotine (6mg) adjustable power, high nicotine (18mg) fixed power, and high nicotine (18mg) adjustable power.

Data Collected

Puff Number (PN), Puff Duration (PD), Inter-Puff Interval (IPI), ML of liquid consumed, changes to power (adjustable condition only), and subjective events (i.e. urge to vape, nicotine withdraw) were all collected and used as forms of measurement.


In low nicotine (6mg)/ fixed power conditions, users expressed a longer PD than when using a high nicotine (18mg)/ adjustable power setup. PN (Puff Number) and liquid consumption were also found to increase in low nicotine conditions. Urge to vape and withdraw symptoms decreased, and nicotine intake was increased, in all high nicotine situations. A correlation between nic level x power, and formaldehyde was also drawn.

Layman’s Terms

Vapers using ‘low’ setups (6mg liquid, fixed/adjustable power) were unable to absorb as much nicotine when compared to vapers using ‘high’ setups (18mg , fixed/adjustable power). A decrease in urge to vape was also experienced in ‘high’ nic conditions. Vapers using ‘low’ setups (fixed and adjustable power) went through more liquid in an attempt to achieve their personal nicotine necessary. An increase in power and nicotine concentration was also shown to increase the chances for formaldehyde creation while vaping.

So why are these findings important? – Well for starters (figuratively and literally…), smokers looking to put an end to their bad habit are going to have an easier time doing so utilizing a ‘high’ nicotine condition (18mg+ liquid, fixed or adjustable wattage). A Nic-Salt (25mg+) and a portable/ultra portable delivery system would work great for those transitioning.

In Conclusion

Vapers who seem to be “going through” liquid rapidly may want to consider a possible switch in setups (from an adjustable or fixed wattage, and low nic content liquid — to an adjustable or fixed wattage device, and high nic content liquid). An attempt to absorb nicotine more efficiently through an increase in power (while vaping ‘low’ mg e-juice), seems to be quite ineffective as well; instead vapers should consider a portable device (preferably fixed power) and a high mg e-juice to meet their requirements. Vapers may also want to make moderate adjustments in power (making sure not to exceed what is necessary) while vaping liquid containing nicotine (especially high mg concentrations), as the study has linked vaping at higher wattage/voltages levels with small increases in formaldehyde creation (p<0.05). It should be noted that the OSHA PEL for inhalation is 0.75ppm (parts per million). For more on Formaldehyde, please visit the following: ATSDR


‘Real World’ compensatory behavior with low nicotine

More on Formaldehyde






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