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South African medical journal = Suid-Afrikaanse tydskrif vir geneeskunde

Carboxyhaemoglobin levels, health and lifestyle perceptions in smokers converting from tobacco cigarettes to electronic cigarettes.


PMID 24148175

Abstract

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer are diseases associated with smoking tobacco cigarettes. Smokers find cessation difficult. To determine whether smoking the Twisp electronic cigarette (e-cigarette), containing nicotine in a vegetable-based glycerine substance, would reduce carboxyhaemoglobin (COHb) levels in regular cigarette smokers by (i) comparing arterial and venous COHb levels before and after smoking the Twisp e-cigarette for 2 weeks; and (ii) evaluating changes in participants' perception of their health and lifestyle following the use of Twisp e-cigarettes. A single group within-subject design was used where tobacco cigarette smokers converted to Twisp e-cigarettes for 2 weeks. Prior to using the Twisp e-cigarette and after using this device for 2 weeks, arterial COHb, venous COHb and venous cotinine levels were determined. Additionally, the participants were asked to complete a questionnaire outlining their perceptions on health and lifestyle. Thirteen participants of median age 38 years (range 23 - 46) with a smoking median of 20 cigarettes/day (range 12 - 30) completed the study. COHb levels (%) were significantly reduced after smoking Twisp e-cigarettes for 2 weeks (mean ± standard deviation (SD) arterial COHb before 4.66±1.99 v. after 2.46±1.35; p=0.014 and mean ±SD venous COHb before 4.37±2.1 v. after 2.50±1.23; p=0.018). There was excellent agreement between arterial and venous COHb levels (intraclass correlation coefficient 0.916). A decrease in cotinine levels (p=0.001) and an increase in oxygen saturation (p=0.002) were also observed. The majority of participants perceived improvements in their health and lifestyle parameters. Smoking the Twisp e-cigarette may be a healthier and more acceptable alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes.