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Prevalence of Use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) to Vape Recreational Drugs by Club Patrons in South London

Abstract

Introduction

Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS, often called e-cigarettes) are nicotine delivery devices that heat nicotine into vapour that is inhaled, a process called ‘vaping’. Use eclipsed nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) in 2014 but ENDS role in smoking cessation remains controversial. Safety has not been proven and there have been reports to US poison centres regarding potential ENDS-related nicotine toxicity. A further concern is use of ENDS to vape recreational drugs, but there is limited data to substantiate this. The aim of this study was to report on ENDS use to vape recreational drugs in patrons of a South London nightclub where high prevalence of recreational drug use has previously been shown.

Methods

A convenience sample of 101 participants was surveyed in March 2015 as part of a larger survey on drug use. Individuals were asked if they used ENDS to vape nicotine and/or other substances (and if so which substances).

Results

Ninety (89.1 %) of respondents were male with median age of 28 years (IQR 23–34). Eighty (79.2 %) currently smoked cigarettes; 20 (19.8 %) currently used ENDS for nicotine. Six (5.9 %) reported using ENDS to take other substances: 2 for ‘liquid cannabis’ and 4 did not elaborate on the substance(s) used. Of these 6, 3 were using ENDS to vape nicotine and 3 had never used them for nicotine.

Conclusion

5.9 % of individuals in this sample reported using ENDS to vape substances other than nicotine. Further work is required in larger populations to determine how common this is, evaluate which agents are being vaped and to inform appropriate public education.

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Correspondence to Natalie Thurtle.

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Sources of Funding

There was no specific funding for this study, though this study was conducted as part of a larger study that received funding from the UK Home Office Centre for Applied Science and Technology.

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Thurtle, N., Abouchedid, R., Archer, J.R.H. et al. Prevalence of Use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) to Vape Recreational Drugs by Club Patrons in South London. J. Med. Toxicol. 13, 61–65 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13181-016-0583-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13181-016-0583-3

Keywords

  • E-cigarettes
  • Electronic nicotine delivery systems
  • Vaping
  • Recreational drugs