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New technology utilised to monitor e-cigarette use

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The results of the research will be used to help develop AI to help inform people about their vaping behaviour

Researchers at the University of East Anglia are using new ‘puff technology’ to see how people who smoke and vape use e-cigarettes.

A new observational study launched today will see participants use a small monitoring device which screws onto tank-based e-cigarettes.

The device will measure the number and duration of puffs, time between puffs, and the power used per puff to build a personalised profile of the user’s vaping patterns.

It is the first time that the technology has been used in research and the results will be used to help develop AI to help inform people about their vaping behaviour.

The team is looking for participants who smoke tobacco and who have recently also started using an e-cigarette (within the last three months).

Lead researcher Dr Emma Ward, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “Dual use of both e-cigarettes and tobacco is common and more than a third of UK e-cigarette users continue to smoke tobacco as well.

“But we know that smoking tobacco is much more harmful than vaping, and that people who switch from smoking cigarettes to vaping are more likely to remain smoke free. Vaping is a harm reduction approach to quitting smoking, allowing users to cope with nicotine withdrawal by using nicotine in a less harmful way.

“We want to find out more about how dual use varies over time, and what factors help or hinder smokers in switching away from smoking tobacco to using e-cigarettes.

“The new technology we’re using is more reliable and sophisticated than the puff counters which come integrated in many e-cigarettes and works by precision measurement of the voltage applied to the atomiser through the duration of the puff.

“It records the puff topography to build a personalised profile of the users vaping patterns.”

The technology has been developed in partnership with VaipIO, with the monitoring system being used to develop AI called Level to help people stop smoking/vaping.

Level is an onboard computer for your e-cig. It learns how you vape and then uses that data to predict when you will crave a nicotine hit. Level is designed to help you understand your vaping behaviour by precisely monitoring use.

The 90-day trial will see participants take part in a short daily online survey about smoking, vaping, mood, stress, alcohol consumption and social support.

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