Titled, “Withdrawal Symptoms From E-Cigarette Abstinence Among Former Smokers: A Pre-Post Clinical Trial,” the study included 109 former smokers who were current vapers, and were tested to confirm that they used their own e-cigarette for 7 days, followed by 6 days of abstinence.
Following three laboratory visits per week for carbon monoxide and cotinine testing to verify abstinence, it was confirmed that half of the participants had managed to abstain for a week. These experienced all known nicotine withdrawal symptoms, including craving for e-cigarettes, craving for tobacco cigarettes, negative affect, increased weight and decreased heart rate.
However, added the researchers, the magnitude of withdrawal appeared weaker than in a prior study with smokers. “The magnitude of withdrawal appeared to be somewhat less than that in a prior study of abstinent daily tobacco cigarette smokers. More severe withdrawal on the first 2 days of abstinence did not predict abstinence on the last day of the study,” read the study Abstract.
To this effect concluded the researchers, while smokers transfer their dependence on nicotine from cigarettes to vapes, the severity of withdrawal from e-cigarettes appears to be only somewhat less than that from daily tobacco cigarette use.
Dependence on e-cigs tends to be consistently lower than that on cigarettes
In line with this, a recent cross-sectional study published in Addiction which looked into and compared dependence on e-cigarettes and cigarettes amongst US adults, found that contrary to media reports, dependence on e-cigarettes appears to be consistently lower than that on regular cigarettes.
“Among current users, dependence on e-cigarettes was significantly lower than dependence on cigarettes, in within-subjects comparisons among dual users of both e-cigarettes and cigarettes (1.58 [SE=0.05] vs. 2.76 [0.04]), p<0.0001), and in separate groups of e-cigarette users and cigarette smokers (1.95 [0.05] vs. 2.52 [0.02], p<0.0001), and among both daily and non-daily users of each product.”