New York: Researchers have developed a new device called 'PuffPacket' that can monitor electronic cigarette inhalations- yielding important information for research about when and where people vape, how deeply they inhale and how much nicotine they consume.
The device, which can be attached easily to all types of e-cigarettes and other nicotine-delivery kits, can help fill gaps in knowledge about vaping that might help users curtail it, according to the study, published in the ACM digital library.
"We wanted to figure out a way to map how people use e-cigarettes to determine what the triggers are," said study first author said Alexander Adams from Cornell University in the US.
Using PuffPacket could help vapers monitor their own nicotine consumption - harder to track than for traditional cigarette smokers, who can easily tell how much they've smoked by watching a cigarette burn or seeing how many remain in a pack.
The device could help researchers better understand the many forces impacting drug cravings and addictive behaviour, as well as to create interventions to help people quit.
The researchers developed three versions of PuffPacket with a range of attributes, such as ease of attachment and long battery life. The device makes use of the e-cigarettes' own signals, as well as Bluetooth technology, to track the intensity, duration and frequency of inhalations.
The data is then transmitted to a smartphone, which captures location, time and activity - such as walking, standing or driving - to help identify what circumstances might be triggering people to vape.
The researchers sought to make PuffPacket as inexpensive and easy to use as possible. Affixing it directly to vaping devices and syncing it with cell phones is expected to yield more accurate results than methods requiring people to record their vaping habits manually.
When activated by an inhale, the e-cigarettes' electrical signal "wakes" PuffPacket, allowing it to save battery when not in use. The researchers have released open-source designs for the device, in order to make it easier for anyone studying vaping to adapt PuffPacket for their own experiments.