Cigalike versus tank system e-cigarettes: Effects on smoking behaviours at the early stage of a quit attempt

First published: 10 May 2019 | Last updated: 20 May 2019

Aims:  Compared with tanks, cigalike e-cigarettes have been associated with poorer nicotine delivery and reduced satisfaction.  Given that nicotine is the primary reinforcer of smoking behaviour, models with poor nicotine delivery will likely decrease product acceptability and preclude smoking cessation.  This study aimed to compare a cigalike and a tank model e-cigarette on smoking behaviours over a 2-week period.

Methods:  E-cigarette-naïve smokers, willing to quit, (n = 70; 62.9% female) were randomly allocated to either a cigalike-high (18mg/mL nicotine), a tank-high (18mg/mL) or a tank-low (6mg/mL) e-cigarette, following administration of baseline measures of smoking history, dependence, craving, withdrawal and subjective effects.  Participants were asked to use the e-cigarette over 2 weeks and report daily e-cigarette use, cigarettes smoked per day (CPD) and subjective symptoms.  Carbon monoxide (CO) levels were also collected at baseline, after 1 and 2 weeks.

Results:  CPD, CO and nicotine dependence reduced from baseline to week 1 and 2, there were no differences between conditions.  The tank-high and cigalike-high were more efficient in reducing craving compared to the tank-low at baseline (p < 0.05).  Participants rated the tank-high and tank-low as more satisfying at baseline and week 1, and the cigalike as less satisfying.  Higher satisfaction and other positive subjective effects were associated with an increase in puff number and a decrease in CPD and CO.

Conclusions:   E-cigarettes can help reducing tobacco smoking in the initial weeks of a quit attempt.  Whilst higher nicotine concentrations are more effective in reducing craving, tanks are preferable in achieving satisfaction.


Dr Kirstie Soar, PhD, Drugs and Addictive Behaviours Research Group, School of Psychology, University of East London, Water lane, E15 4LZ, UK Prof. Olivia Corcoran, PhD, Medicines Research Group, School of Health, Sport and Bioscience, University of East London, Water lane, E15 4LZ, UK Dr Lynne Dawkins, PhD, Division of Psychology, School of Applied Sciences, 103 Borough Road, London South Bank University, London, SE1 0AA, UK

Conflicts of interest:

I, Catherine Kimber, the lead author declare no conflict of interest.
Dr Kirstie Soar and Prof. Olivia Corcoran declare no conflict of interest.
Dr Lynne Dawkins has previously (2010-2013) conducted research for several independent electronic cigarette companies.  These companies had no input into the design, conduct or write up of the projects.  She has also acted as a consultant for the pharmaceutical industry and as an expert witness in a patent infringement case (2015).

Mrs Catherine Kimber