posted by Carl V Phillips
I am going to keep brainstorming this (clearly related though somewhat tangential) subtopic that I started here, which has produced some useful feedback.
Based on numerous conversations I have had two different meetings since making that post, as well as the comments on that post, I think there is a need to dramatically increase the emphasis on the hardware specs and conditions, as compared to my original portrayal. That is, I mentioned that we need to study the mapping from e-cigarette liquid chemistry to vapor chemistry as a function of the hardware used. But I did not put enough emphasis on the latter bit.
While we are not going to be able to test every possible configuration, we should at least carefully examine the effects (on the liquid->vapor relationship) of different heat and power levels, as well as such things as what happens when the atomizer is heated dry. We should also want to know what changes as components get old. As noted in the previous comments, there are too many variables but if we can see what happens to a high-quality, pure, relatively typical liquid under varying circumstances, that would be useful.
The next step after that — dramatically more expensive and harder to do, but useful — is to look for human biomarker changes. A bit of this had been done, but it is very limited. It should also be tied back to the chemistry — given how much more expensive human subjects research is, it should always be combined with a chemical analysis of what is being vaped. Perhaps we will have to wait until very large companies want to test their specific highly standardized products this way, perhaps to please regulators, but the results will also offer useful general knowledge.
Moving on from chemistry, I will branch the conversation into other areas of research. We really need to collect the many personal testimonials about quitting smoking using e-cigarettes and analyze them. In this case, by “we” I mean not a vague “the scientific community” or “humanity”, but CASAA in particular. We have been planning to do that, and will start on that soon.
It would likewise be nice to have more of the data about how much product is actually being sold and how many people are consuming it. This is not all that difficult to know, in theory, but there is remarkably little public information.
Finally, going beyond the relatively easy observations in the social science situation to actively create information, it would be valuable to understand more about users who fall in between trialers/beginners and the category I call “aficionados” (basically anyone who uses mods). They are most of the users, almost certainly, and growing. But are they really happy with the products they are using? Are they at risk of relapse to cigarettes? What would improve their vaping experience? We have some good guesses about those, but learning more could improve THR efforts.
That is what I have for now. I open the floor to comments, which are most welcome.