Characteristics of Vaping Products

Posted 6th February 2019 by Dave Cross
There is a huge range in different types of devices, atomisers, coils and wicks used in vaping. All too often, researchers are ignorant about vaping and how people vape. The nicotine vaping products (NVP) study conducted across four countries sought to fill in the gaps for future pieces of work.

The team included Ann McNeill from King's College, London. They explain the reasons for conducting the study: “The kind of NVPs people use, levels of overall use, and whether they use with nicotine, is likely to be affected by the regulatory environment. Further, devices which differ in the way they deliver the product are likely to affect overall use patterns, and potentially the public health implications. Therefore, understanding the nature of the vaping market including the diversity of products and how they are used is important in trying to understand the impacts of differing regulatory environments, as well as the potential implications of different types of devices on usage, and potential harm.”

Institutions involved:

  • King's College, London
  • Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Centre
  • Medical University of South Carolina
  • Cancer Council Victoria
  • University of Waterloo, Canada
  • Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Georgetown
  • Ontario Institute for Cancer Research

“The objective of this paper is to describe the types of NVPs reportedly used by current vapers who were participants in the 2016 ITC 4 Country Smoking and Vaping Survey, using consistent measures across the four countries. As these markets differ in smoking and vaping rates and patterns as well as policies, we also examine the role of these factors with respect to device and liquid preferences.”

They found that device type differed by country, with box-shaped tanks more common in the Australia and American samples. In England and Canada, pen-style devices with a refillable tank were most commonly reported, while cigalikes were most commonly reported among US vapers.


English vapers were far less likely to report adjustable devices (44.5%) compared to those in Canada (66.5%), the US (66.4%), and Australia (63.2%).

The most commonly reported volume or capacity ranged between 1ml to 3ml, although 24.1% reported that they ‘don’t know the volume or capacity of their systems.

Flavours: fruit (28.3 %) was the most commonly reported flavour, followed by tobacco (27.5%), menthol (21.2%), candy/sweets (10.7%), and ‘other’ (7.3%).

Use of candy/sweet flavours were more frequently reported by vapers in Canada (30.8%) and the US (30.5%) when compared to users in England and Australia. Vapers in Australia and England were more likely to report using a juice with menthol flavour (30.2% and 37.0%, respectively) compared to their counterparts in the other countries. Those using a box-shaped refillable tank device were most likely to report fruit flavours (35.1%).


Liquids containing nicotine were more commonly reported in US (92.9 %) and England (94.9 %). In Australia and Canada, where nicotine liquid is subject to a greater degree of prohibition, rates of use of nicotine containing liquids were still high, at 91.2% and 87.8%, respectively. Nicotine-free liquids were reported by similar proportions of users across device type. The most commonly reported nicotine strength across countries was 20 mg or less. Use of nicotine levels >21mg/mL was more common among those using cigalikes (10.2%).



“Characteristics of nicotine vaping products used by participants in the 2016 ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Survey” by O'Connor, Fix, McNeill, Goniewicz, Bansal-Travers, Heckman, Cummings, Hitchman, Borland, Hammond, Levy, Gravely, Fong -

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, motorbikes, and dog walker
Legion of Vapers