The University of East Anglia uses new ‘puff technology’ in research
The University of East Anglia (UEA) is adopting “new technology” to monitor the number of puffs vapers take as part of future studies. The results the researchers obtain is going to be used to develop an artificial intelligence system to be used in the future. The AI development will analyse how people who smoke and vape (dual users) use e-cigarettes.
The new study began in January and got those taking part to fix a monitoring device to the base of their vape tanks. It screws on, and then the device section screws on to the vape mod. This piece of technology is then used to measure the number of puffs taken and the time the puff lasts for. It will also record the time that lapses between each vaping session and the power being applied to the coil to heat the eliquid.
All of those aspects of the individual vaping habits will be compiled to build an anonymous yet personalised profile of the vaper and their vaping patterns. This is the very first time that such technology has been used in electronic cigarette research. All of the data from each participating subject will then be compiled to help inform the development of the artificial intelligence program.
The research team has spent a number of months looking for dual-use subjects. It was important to find ones who had only recently started trying out vaping and were still smoking tobacco products.
Lead researcher Dr Emma Ward works at UEA’s Norwich Medical School. Commenting on the new direction for their work, she 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 into 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 was developed in conjunction with VaipIO, based on the smart device the company currently offers to market.