Electronic Cigarette Research Briefing

The UK E-Cigarette Research Forum (UKECRF) is an initiative developed by Cancer Research UK in partnership with Public Health England (PHE) and the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS). Among other things, it brings together genuine experts to look at research related to vaping. UKECRF has released its latest vape research briefing, thanks to funding by Cancer Research UK (CRUK).

The research briefing is part of a series of monthly updates aiming to provide an overview of new studies on electronic cigarettes. The briefings are intended for researchers, policy makers, health professionals and others who may not have time to keep up to date with new findings and would like to access a summary that goes beyond the study abstract.

Nicotine delivery and users’ reactions to Juul compared with cigarettes and other e-cigarette products

The study compared the nicotine delivery and user experience of Juul e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes in twenty dual users. After overnight abstinence, participants smoked their usual brand cigarette freely for 5 minutes. After a second overnight abstinence, participants vaped a 59mg/ml nicotine Juul e-cigarette.

The team found there was no difference in the peak amount of blood nicotine concentration measured, nor the time taken to reach maximum nicotine concentration. The users rated Juul as more pleasant and said they were more likely to recommend the product to friends.

The authors said: “Juul’s PK profile and user ratings suggest that it could be more effective than other EC products in helping smokers to quit smoking, but it may also have a higher potential to generate regular use in non-smokers.”

UKECRF said the sample size being low increased the uncertainty of estimates, and was limited by the order of smoking/vaping and the single Juul flavour used.

Communicating the relative health risks of E-cigarettes: An online experimental study exploring the effects of a comparative health message versus the EU nicotine addiction warnings on smokers’ and non-smokers’ risk perceptions and behavioural intentions

The study investigated the effects of the European Union Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) Article 20 E-cigarette health warnings.

Around 2500 UK residents self-reported “perceived harm, addictiveness, ecig effectiveness, social acceptability, and intentions to purchase and use an ecig, and in smokers, intentions to quit and intentions to use ecigs in future quit attempts.” These were measured before and after exposure to vape images containing a variety of health warnings including no message at all. The authors concluded: “TPD messages may be effective smoking prevention tools.”

UKECRF said: “The study focuses on the intentions of participants. Therefore, it is unclear whether these intentions regarding e-cigarettes would be converted into actions. Participants were presented with the messages in a controlled situation rather than shown adverts in a real-life environment and the effect of the message in these scenarios may differ.”

Socioeconomic patterning of vaping by smoking status among UK adults and youth

This study examined inequalities in vaping by smoking status, hoping to offer insights into potential impacts of vaping on socioeconomic inequalities in health.

The authors used data from 3291 youth and 35,367 adults from wave 7 (2015-17) of the UK Household Longitudinal Study. They concluded: “Inequalities in vaping among never smoking youth and adult ex-smokers, suggest potential to widen health inequalities, while weaker inequalities in smoking cessation among adult vapers indicate e-cigarettes could help narrow inequalities.”

UKECRF said: “Vaping status was binary and was determined by asking ‘do you ever use electronic cigarettes’. Therefore, occasional users would have been categorised as users. Similarly, smoking status in the analysis on youth was also binary. As it is common for young people to try e-cigarettes or cigarettes without using them regularly, this may have impacted the associations seen.”

“The study did not examine trends in cessation, only ‘ex-smokers’. Therefore, Therefore, it cannot tell us about patterns of use in individuals over time, or determine causality.”


  • UK Electronic Cigarette Research Forum – [link]
  • “Nicotine delivery and users’ reactions to Juul compared with cigarettes and other e-cigarette products” by Hajek et al. – [link]
  • “Communicating the relative health risks of E-cigarettes” by Kimber, Frings, Cox et al. – [link]
  • “Socioeconomic patterning of vaping by smoking status among UK adults and youth” by Green, Gray, Sweeting and Benzeval – [link]

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