US20120291791A1 - Methods and apparatus for nicotine delivery reduction - Google Patents

Methods and apparatus for nicotine delivery reduction Download PDF

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US20120291791A1
US20120291791A1 US13/111,733 US201113111733A US2012291791A1 US 20120291791 A1 US20120291791 A1 US 20120291791A1 US 201113111733 A US201113111733 A US 201113111733A US 2012291791 A1 US2012291791 A1 US 2012291791A1
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nicotine
user
breath
amount
solution
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Anantha Pradeep
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Nielsen Co (US) LLC
NEUROFOCUS Inc
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NEUROFOCUS Inc
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A24TOBACCO; CIGARS; CIGARETTES; SMOKERS' REQUISITES
    • A24FSMOKERS' REQUISITES; MATCH BOXES
    • A24F47/00Smokers' requisites not provided for elsewhere, e.g. devices to assist in stopping or limiting smoking
    • A24F47/002Simulated smoking devices, e.g. imitation cigarettes
    • A24F47/004Simulated smoking devices, e.g. imitation cigarettes with heating means, e.g. carbon fuel
    • A24F47/008Simulated smoking devices, e.g. imitation cigarettes with heating means, e.g. carbon fuel with electrical heating means

Abstract

A nicotine delivery reduction system includes an electronic cigarette having a breath monitor and a flow controller. The breath monitor detects user breath characteristics such as breath duration, rate, depth, and strength and adjusts the amount of nicotine delivered to the user based on user breath characteristics. In particular examples, if the user is breathing with more urgency, additional nicotine is delivered to the user. The nicotine delivery reduction system also includes an interface to allow implementation of different reduction programs based on personal preferences and characteristics. If the user is breathing normally, the flow controller gradually reduces the level of nicotine delivered to the user. The nicotine delivery reduction system maintains user breath characteristics over time to allow reduction and possible elimination of nicotine dependence. Neuro-response data including electroencephalography (EEG) can be obtained and analyzed to determine the effectiveness of a nicotine reduction program.

Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The present disclosure relates to methods and apparatus for nicotine delivery reduction.
  • DESCRIPTION OF RELATED ART
  • Conventional systems for nicotine delivery reduction are limited. In some instances, nicotine patches may be used to reduce a user's nicotine intake by allowing the user to select a patch with the desired level of nicotine. The user can gradually step down to patches with lower levels of nicotine. A user may also select cigarettes having lower nicotine levels or simply reduce the number of cigarettes consumed. However, each of these mechanisms has a number of shortcomings when it comes to reducing nicotine levels.
  • Consequently, it is desirable to provide improved mechanisms for nicotine delivery reduction.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The disclosure may best be understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate particular example embodiments.
  • FIG. 1 illustrates one example of an electronic cigarette with an interface.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates one example of an electronic cigarette having nicotine delivery reduction capability.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates one example of a technique for implementing a nicotine delivery reduction system.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates one example of nicotine reduction adjustment.
  • FIG. 5 illustrates one example of a technique for analyzing effectiveness of nicotine reduction plans.
  • FIG. 6 illustrates one example of a system for performing analysis.
  • DESCRIPTION OF PARTICULAR EMBODIMENTS
  • Reference will now be made in detail to some specific examples of the invention including the best modes contemplated by the inventors for carrying out the invention. Examples of these specific embodiments are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. While the invention is described in conjunction with these specific embodiments, it will be understood that it is not intended to limit the invention to the described embodiments. On the contrary, it is intended to cover alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
  • For example, the techniques and mechanisms of the present invention will be described in the context of particular devices and solutions. However, it should be noted that some of the techniques and mechanisms can be applied to device and solution variations. In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. Particular example embodiments of the present invention may be implemented without some or all of these specific details. In other instances, well known process operations have not been described in detail in order not to unnecessarily obscure the present invention.
  • Various techniques and mechanisms of the present invention will sometimes be described in singular form for clarity. However, it should be noted that some embodiments include multiple iterations of a technique or multiple instantiations of a mechanism unless noted otherwise. For example, a system uses a processor in a variety of contexts. However, it will be appreciated that a system can use multiple processors while remaining within the scope of the present invention unless otherwise noted. Furthermore, the techniques and mechanisms of the present invention will sometimes describe a connection between two entities. It should be noted that a connection between two entities does not necessarily mean a direct, unimpeded connection, as a variety of other entities may reside between the two entities. For example, a processor may be connected to memory, but it will be appreciated that a variety of bridges and controllers may reside between the processor and memory. Consequently, a connection does not necessarily mean a direct, unimpeded connection unless otherwise noted.
  • Overview
  • A nicotine delivery reduction system includes an electronic cigarette having a breath monitor and a flow controller. The breath monitor detects user breath characteristics such as breath duration, rate, depth, and strength and adjusts the amount of nicotine delivered to the user based on user breath characteristics. In particular examples, if the user is breathing with more urgency, additional nicotine is delivered to the user. The nicotine delivery reduction system also includes an interface to allow implementation of different reduction programs based on personal preferences and characteristics. If the user is breathing normally, the flow controller gradually reduces the level of nicotine delivered to the user. The nicotine delivery reduction system maintains user breath characteristics over time to allow reduction and possible elimination of nicotine dependence. Neuro-response data including electroencephalography (EEG) can be obtained and analyzed to determine the effectiveness of a nicotine reduction program.
  • Example Embodiments
  • Conventional mechanisms for nicotine delivery reduction are limited. Nicotine patches are transdermal devices that deliver nicotine through the skin. Nicotine patches are used to deliver nicotine without some of the harmful effects associated with cigarettes. Users can gradually replace nicotine patches having high levels of nicotine with patches having lower levels of nicotine to moderate nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness, drowsiness, headache, irritability, hallucinations, and depressions.
  • Some cigarettes are also marketed as low tar, low nicotine alternatives to popular cigarettes. User wanting to reduce nicotine levels and/or negative effects associated with cigarettes may try to reduce the number of cigarettes consumed or switch to low tar, low nicotine alternatives.
  • However, conventional mechanisms for reducing nicotine consumption are limited. In many instances, conventional mechanisms do not take into account feedback from particular users. For example, a user may not need all of the nicotine delivered by a particular patch, but the patch delivers that amount of nicotine nonetheless. Alternatively, a user may need higher levels than that provided by a particular cigarette to alleviate nicotine withdrawal symptoms, but may not be provided with sufficient relief and may consequently switch back to a cigarette having a higher nicotine level or may consume additional quantities of cigarettes that would otherwise not have been consumed.
  • Consequently, the techniques and mechanisms of the present invention provide an electronic cigarette that monitors user breath characteristics while applying a set of schemes that allow a user to achieve particular goal.
  • A nicotine delivery reduction system may include an electronic cigarette having an atomizer. The atomizer may be a vaporizer, nebulizer, humidifier, etc., that converts a nicotine solution into a mist to be inhaled by the user. The atomizer may use heat, ultrasonics, etc., to convert the nicotine solution. According to various embodiments, the nicotine delivery reduction system includes a flow controller that modifies the amount of nicotine solution atomized or the concentration of the nicotine solution atomized to meet particular guidelines or settings. The nicotine delivery reduction system also includes a breath monitor that detects breath characteristics of the user such as breath duration, rate, and strength.
  • According to various embodiments, a user may indicate that the user wants to reduce nicotine consumption levels by half within three months. The electronic cigarette can monitor the amount of nicotine delivered in order to allow a user to reach that goal. During the three months, the electronic cigarette would control and gradually reduce the flow of nicotine provided through an atomizer. However, if a breath monitor detects that a user is taking particularly long or deep breaths, or is inhaling at a rapid rate, nicotine reduction is tapered so that the user does not feel as many adverse effects of nicotine withdrawal. When inhalation returns to normal as detected by the breath monitor, the flow controller again begins to reduce the amount of nicotine delivered.
  • The nicotine delivery reduction system can also include an interface such as a wired or wireless interface that allows a user to program new schemes or receive feedback about nicotine reduction progress. The reports may indicate that a user feels the need for more nicotine during particular days or hours and may provide the user the ability to make lifestyle modifications to reduce stress or other periodic triggers. Reports may be generated and shared in networks of users to encourage reduced nicotine usage through peer evaluation. In particular embodiments, successful nicotine reduction plans for individuals with particular characteristics can be applied to other individuals with similar characteristics.
  • FIG. 1 illustrates one example of nicotine delivery reduction system in an electronic cigarette. According to various embodiments, the electronic cigarette includes a solution cartridge 109. The solution cartridge 109 includes a nicotine solution such as a glycerin or propylene glycol based nicotine solution. In particular embodiments, the solution cartridge 109 includes multiple nicotine solutions having different concentrations. In some examples, the solution cartridge 109 includes nicotine solutions along with non-nicotine substances such as inert solutions or flavoring solutions to allow enhanced tobacco smoking simulation. The solution cartridge 109 may also function as a mouthpiece. The solution cartridge 109 may be replaceable or reusable. According to various embodiments, the solution cartridge 109 is connected to an atomized 107. The atomizer 107 may be a vaporizer, nebulizer, humidifier, etc., that converts a nicotine solution into an inhalable mist that can be consumed by a user. The conversion may involve heat and/or ultrasonics. The atomizer 107 is connected to circuitry 105 that regulates the amount of nicotine solution that may be passed to an atomizer at a particular period of time or the rate of atomization. Circuitry 105 may also control heat levels or battery usage of battery component 103. The nicotine delivery reduction system also include and LED/interface 101. The interface may be a wireless or wired interface that allows programming of the nicotine delivery reduction system.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates another example of a nicotine delivery reduction system. The nicotine delivery reduction system includes a solution cartridge 215. The solution cartridge 215 includes a nicotine solution such as a glycerin or propylene glycol based nicotine solution. In particular embodiments, the solution cartridge 215 includes multiple nicotine solutions having different concentrations. In some examples, the solution cartridge 215 includes nicotine solutions along with flavoring solutions to allow enhanced tobacco smoking simulation. The solution cartridge 215 may also function as a mouthpiece. The solution cartridge 215 may be replaceable or reusable. According to various embodiments, the solution cartridge 215 is connected to a breath monitor 213 that determines breath characteristics associated with a user. The breath characteristics may include breath duration, strength, and rate. In particular embodiments, the breath monitor may not only monitor breath characteristics, but may monitor amount of nicotine solution atomized, temperature, humidity, etc., According to various embodiments, a nicotine delivery reduction system may determine that a user is inhaling more rapidly and more deeply and consequently would slightly increase the nicotine level provided to the user.
  • The atomizer 211 may be a vaporizer, nebulizer, humidifier, etc., that converts a nicotine solution into an inhalable mist that can be consumed by a user. The conversion may involve heat and/or ultrasonics. The atomizer 211 is connected to a flow controller 209. The flow controller 209 regulates the amount of nicotine provided to the user at any given period of time. The flow controller may adjust the concentration of nicotine in the nicotine solution provided to the atomizer 211 or may adjust the amount of heat used by the atomizer 211 or the amount of solution itself provided to the atomizer 211. The flow controller 209 may also mix nicotine solution with other inert solutions to vary nicotine levels. According to various embodiments, the flow controller 209 applies a scheme or schedule set by a user based on particular targets. In some examples, if the user wishes to reduce nicotine consumption generally, the flow controller 209 may reduce the amount of nicotine provided to the user by a few percentage points every day.
  • Memory 207 may be used to store nicotine delivery information and breath characteristics information. Processor 205 may be used to intelligently vary a reduction program upon learning user behaviors. In some examples, if a user all too frequently inhales at a rapid rate, slightly higher nicotine levels may still not be delivered and instead a different nicotine solution or different flavoring solution may be used or suggested. The processor 205 may also alter flow controller 209 operation and perform battery maintenance of battery component 203. The nicotine delivery reduction system may also include an LED/interface 201. The interface may be a wireless or wired interface that allows programming of the nicotine delivery reduction system, exchange of data and programming, etc.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates one example of a mechanism for implementing a nicotine delivery reduction system. According to various embodiments, a system receives user input on a nicotine reduction plan and user profile information at 301. In particular embodiments, the reduction plan may be reduction of nicotine intake by a quarter over a period of 6 months. The system programs a flow controller with the nicotine reduction plan or program 303 tailored to the particular user. In some examples, the flow controller is included in an electronic cigarette. According to various embodiments, the nicotine reduction plan is tailored based on user preferences. The nicotine reduction plan may be very gradual as specific by the user, or make more aggressive periodic reductions in nicotine levels. In particular embodiments, the nicotine reduction plan may be a nicotine reduction program such as a software or firmware program automatically generated based on neuro-response data specific to the user and dynamically modifiable based on user feedback.
  • At 305, the breath monitor continuously tracks nicotine solution usage, usage frequency, and breath characteristics. The breath monitor may identify that the user reaches for an electronic cigarette five times daily on average and consumes a particular amount of nicotine solution each time. The flow controller can alter the concentration or amount of nicotine solution provided for each breath or during each session according to a nicotine reduction plan at 307. At 309, the breath monitor detects increased breath rate or increase breath depth. According to various embodiments, the breath monitor directs the flow controller to provide slightly increased levels of nicotine or nicotine solution at 311. At 313, the breath monitor detects reduced breath rate or reduced breath depth. According to various embodiments, the breath monitor directs the flow controller to provide slightly decreased levels of nicotine or nicotine solution at 315.
  • According to various embodiments, the flow controller also monitors user habits and adjust nicotine levels based on user habits and characteristics at 317. In particular embodiments, a user may not tolerate reduced nicotine levels well in the morning but may be more tolerant of reductions in the evenings. An electronic cigarette may provide slightly higher levels of nicotine at particular times of day at 319 and slightly reduced levels of nicotine at other times of day at 321 while still reducing nicotine consumption overall in line with a nicotine reduction plan.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates one example of nicotine reduction adjustment. According to various embodiments, a flow controller determines at 401 that nicotine levels should be reduced. In particular embodiments, the flow controller reduces the amount of nicotine solution atomized at 403 and provided to the user. In some examples, the flow controller selects a nicotine solution having a lower concentration of nicotine for atomization. At 405, the breath monitor tracks the breath characteristics of a user. If breath characteristics change significantly at 407, the flow controller can select a different nicotine solution or introduce other additives to moderate changes in breath characteristics. In particular embodiments, if the user begins taking deeper and more frequent inhalations at 409, a flavoring additive may be introduced into the nicotine solution to simulate the experience the user is accustomed to having when nicotine levels are not reduced. Different flavoring solutions and substitutes may be introduced to attempt to moderate breathing characteristics. If breathing remains deep and frequent, slightly raised nicotine levels may be provided to the user at 411. Alternatively, the amount of flavoring may remain constant even when nicotine levels are reduced so that the user has a non-disrupted experience.
  • FIG. 5 illustrates one example of generating a nicotine delivery reduction scheme. According to various embodiments, a variety of nicotine reduction plans 501 are implemented for multiple users having a variety of characteristics. Some reduction plans may be tailored for heavy users while others may be directed at less frequent users. The nicotine reduction plans include a variety of nicotine solutions and reduction schemes at 503. The nicotine solutions may include different amounts of flavoring, different types of flavoring, different concentrations of solution, different rates of reduction, etc. At 505, breath characteristics are monitored for multiple users over the course of several months. According to various embodiments, neuro-response data including electroencephalography (EEG) data is also monitored for the multiple users on a variety of reduction plans at 507. At 509, the effectiveness of particular nicotine reduction plans is analyzed. According to various embodiments, the nicotine reduction plans that impact the least change on breathing characteristics and neuro-response data are identified as more effective. In many instances, particular reduction plans may be particular effective for particular types of users. Nicotine reduction plans having particular characteristics are identified as effective for particular users at 511.
  • According to various embodiments, neuro-response data including EEG data is collected and analyzed to determine user response to nicotine reduction plans.
  • According to various embodiments, data analysis is performed on neuro-response data. Data analysis may include intra-modality response synthesis and cross-modality response synthesis to enhance effectiveness measures. It should be noted that in some particular instances, one type of synthesis may be performed without performing other types of synthesis. For example, cross-modality response synthesis may be performed with or without intra-modality response synthesis. In other examples, intra-modality response synthesis may be performed without cross-modality response synthesis.
  • A variety of mechanisms can be used to perform data analysis. In particular embodiments, a stimulus attributes repository is accessed to obtain attributes and characteristics of the stimulus materials, along with purposes, intents, objectives, etc. In particular embodiments, EEG response data is synthesized to provide an enhanced assessment of effectiveness. According to various embodiments, EEG measures electrical activity resulting from thousands of simultaneous neural processes associated with different portions of the brain. EEG data can be classified in various bands. According to various embodiments, brainwave frequencies include delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma frequency ranges. Delta waves are classified as those less than 4 Hz and are prominent during deep sleep. Theta waves have frequencies between 3.5 to 7.5 Hz and are associated with memories, attention, emotions, and sensations. Theta waves are typically prominent during states of internal focus.
  • Alpha frequencies reside between 7.5 and 13 Hz and typically peak around 10 Hz. Alpha waves are prominent during states of relaxation. Beta waves have a frequency range between 14 and 30 Hz. Beta waves are prominent during states of motor control, long range synchronization between brain areas, analytical problem solving, judgment, and decision making Gamma waves occur between 30 and 50 Hz and are involved in binding of different populations of neurons together into a network for the purpose of carrying out a certain cognitive or motor function, as well as in attention and memory. Because the skull and dermal layers attenuate waves in this frequency range, brain waves above 75-80 Hz are difficult to detect and are often not used for stimuli response assessment.
  • However, the techniques and mechanisms of the present invention recognize that analyzing high gamma band (kappa-band: Above 50 Hz) measurements, in addition to theta, alpha, beta, and low gamma band measurements, enhances neurological attention, emotional engagement and retention component estimates. In particular embodiments, EEG measurements including difficult to detect high gamma or kappa band measurements are obtained, enhanced, and evaluated. Subject and task specific signature sub-bands in the theta, alpha, beta, gamma and kappa bands are identified to provide enhanced response estimates. According to various embodiments, high gamma waves (kappa-band) above 80 Hz (typically detectable with sub-cranial EEG and/or magnetoencephalography) can be used in inverse model-based enhancement of the frequency responses to the stimuli.
  • Various embodiments of the present invention recognize that particular sub-bands within each frequency range have particular prominence during certain activities. A subset of the frequencies in a particular band is referred to herein as a sub-band. For example, a sub-band may include the 40-45 Hz range within the gamma band. In particular embodiments, multiple sub-bands within the different bands are selected while remaining frequencies are band pass filtered. In particular embodiments, multiple sub-band responses may be enhanced, while the remaining frequency responses may be attenuated.
  • An information theory based band-weighting model is used for adaptive extraction of selective dataset specific, subject specific, task specific bands to enhance the effectiveness measure. Adaptive extraction may be performed using fuzzy scaling. Stimuli can be presented and enhanced measurements determined multiple times to determine the variation profiles across multiple presentations. Determining various profiles provides an enhanced assessment of the primary responses as well as the longevity (wear-out) of the marketing and entertainment stimuli. The synchronous response of multiple individuals to stimuli presented in concert is measured to determine an enhanced across subject synchrony measure of effectiveness. According to various embodiments, the synchronous response may be determined for multiple subjects residing in separate locations or for multiple subjects residing in the same location.
  • Although a variety of synthesis mechanisms are described, it should be recognized that any number of mechanisms can be applied—in sequence or in parallel with or without interaction between the mechanisms.
  • Although intra-modality synthesis mechanisms provide enhanced significance data, additional cross-modality synthesis mechanisms can also be applied. A variety of mechanisms such as EEG, eye tracking, FMRI, EOG, and facial emotion encoding are connected to a cross-modality synthesis mechanism. Other mechanisms as well as variations and enhancements on existing mechanisms may also be included. According to various embodiments, data from a specific modality can be enhanced using data from one or more other modalities. In particular embodiments, EEG typically makes frequency measurements in different bands like alpha, beta and gamma to provide estimates of significance. However, the techniques of the present invention recognize that significance measures can be enhanced further using information from other modalities.
  • For example, facial emotion encoding measures can be used to enhance the valence of the EEG emotional engagement measure. EOG and eye tracking saccadic measures of object entities can be used to enhance the EEG estimates of significance including but not limited to attention, emotional engagement, and memory retention. According to various embodiments, a cross-modality synthesis mechanism performs time and phase shifting of data to allow data from different modalities to align. In some examples, it is recognized that an EEG response will often occur hundreds of milliseconds before a facial emotion measurement changes. Correlations can be drawn and time and phase shifts made on an individual as well as a group basis. In other examples, saccadic eye movements may be determined as occurring before and after particular EEG responses. According to various embodiments, time corrected FMRI measures are used to scale and enhance the EEG estimates of significance including attention, emotional engagement and memory retention measures.
  • Evidence of the occurrence or non-occurrence of specific time domain difference event-related potential components (like the DERP) in specific regions correlates with subject responsiveness to specific stimulus. According to various embodiments, ERP measures are enhanced using EEG time-frequency measures (ERPSP) in response to the presentation of the marketing and entertainment stimuli. Specific portions are extracted and isolated to identify ERP, DERP and ERPSP analyses to perform. In particular embodiments, an EEG frequency estimation of attention, emotion and memory retention (ERPSP) is used as a co-factor in enhancing the ERP, DERP and time-domain response analysis.
  • EOG measures saccades to determine the presence of attention to specific objects of stimulus. Eye tracking measures the subject's gaze path, location and dwell on specific objects of stimulus. According to various embodiments, EOG and eye tracking is enhanced by measuring the presence of lambda waves (a neurophysiological index of saccade effectiveness) in the ongoing EEG in the occipital and extra striate regions, triggered by the slope of saccade-onset to estimate the significance of the EOG and eye tracking measures. In particular embodiments, specific EEG signatures of activity such as slow potential shifts and measures of coherence in time-frequency responses at the Frontal Eye Field (FEF) regions that preceded saccade-onset are measured to enhance the effectiveness of the saccadic activity data.
  • According to various embodiments, facial emotion encoding uses templates generated by measuring facial muscle positions and movements of individuals expressing various emotions prior to the testing session. These individual specific facial emotion encoding templates are matched with the individual responses to identify subject emotional response. In particular embodiments, these facial emotion encoding measurements are enhanced by evaluating inter-hemispherical asymmetries in EEG responses in specific frequency bands and measuring frequency band interactions. The techniques of the present invention recognize that not only are particular frequency bands significant in EEG responses, but particular frequency bands used for communication between particular areas of the brain are significant. Consequently, these EEG responses enhance the EMG, graphic and video based facial emotion identification.
  • According to various embodiments, post-stimulus versus pre-stimulus differential measurements of ERP time domain components in multiple regions of the brain (DERP) are measured. The differential measures give a mechanism for eliciting responses attributable to the stimulus. For example the messaging response attributable to an advertisement or the brand response attributable to multiple brands is determined using pre-resonance and post-resonance estimates
  • Target versus distracter stimulus differential responses are determined for different regions of the brain (DERP). Event related time-frequency analysis of the differential response (DERPSPs) is used to assess the attention, emotion and memory retention measures across multiple frequency bands. According to various embodiments, the multiple frequency bands include theta, alpha, beta, gamma and high gamma or kappa.
  • According to various embodiments, various mechanisms such as the data collection mechanisms, the intra-modality synthesis mechanisms, cross-modality synthesis mechanisms, etc. are implemented on multiple devices. However, it is also possible that the various mechanisms be implemented in hardware, firmware, and/or software in a single system.
  • FIG. 6 illustrates one example of a system for generating a nicotine delivery reduction scheme. According to particular example embodiments, a system 600 suitable for implementing particular embodiments of the present invention includes a processor 601, a memory 603, an interface 611, and a bus 615 (e.g., a PCI bus). When acting under the control of appropriate software or firmware, the processor 601 is responsible for tasks such as pattern generation. Various specially configured devices can also be used in place of a processor 601 or in addition to processor 601. The complete implementation can also be done in custom hardware. The interface 611 is typically configured to send and receive data packets or data segments over a network. Particular examples of interfaces the device supports include host bus adapter (HBA) interfaces, Ethernet interfaces, frame relay interfaces, cable interfaces, DSL interfaces, token ring interfaces, and the like.
  • According to particular example embodiments, the system 600 uses memory 603 to store data, algorithms and program instructions. The program instructions may control the operation of an operating system and/or one or more applications, for example. The memory or memories may also be configured to store received data and process received data.
  • Because such information and program instructions may be employed to implement the systems/methods described herein, the present invention relates to tangible, machine readable media that include program instructions, state information, etc. for performing various operations described herein. Examples of machine-readable media include, but are not limited to, magnetic media such as hard disks, floppy disks, and magnetic tape; optical media such as CD-ROM disks and DVDs; magneto-optical media such as optical disks; and hardware devices that are specially configured to store and perform program instructions, such as read-only memory devices (ROM) and random access memory (RAM). Examples of program instructions include both machine code, such as produced by a compiler, and files containing higher level code that may be executed by the computer using an interpreter.
  • Although the foregoing invention has been described in some detail for purposes of clarity of understanding, it will be apparent that certain changes and modifications may be practiced within the scope of the appended claims. Therefore, the present embodiments are to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive and the invention is not to be limited to the details given herein, but may be modified within the scope and equivalents of the appended claims.

Claims (20)

1. A method, comprising:
receiving a nicotine delivery reduction program at a flow controller included in an electronic cigarette;
reducing an amount of nicotine provided to a user according to the nicotine delivery reduction program;
monitoring breath characteristics associated with the user;
temporarily increasing the amount of nicotine provided to the user upon detecting a change in breath characteristics including increased breath rate and/or increased breath depth.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the amount of nicotine provided is reduced by atomizing a reduced amount of nicotine solution.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the amount of nicotine provided is reduced by mixing nicotine solution with a non-nicotine substance.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein the electronic cigarette includes the flow controller, a flow monitor, a solution cartridge, and an interface.
5. The method of claim 4, wherein the electronic cigarette further includes a processor, a memory, and a mouthpiece.
6. The method of claim 1, wherein breath characteristics are monitored for fluctuations.
7. The method of claim 1, further comprising reducing the amount of nicotine provided to the user upon detecting decreased breath rate and/or decreased breath depth.
8. The method of claim 1, further comprising obtaining neuro-response data including electroencephalography (EEG) data associated with the user.
9. The method of claim 8, wherein the EEG data is used to evaluate the effectiveness of the nicotine delivery reduction program.
10. A device, comprising:
an interface configured to receive a nicotine delivery reduction program;
a flow controller configured to reduce an amount of nicotine provided to a user according to the nicotine delivery reduction program;
a flow monitor configured to monitor breath characteristics associated with the user, wherein the flow controller is configured to temporarily increase the amount of nicotine provided to the user upon detecting a change in breath characteristics including increased breath rate and/or increased breath depth.
11. The device of claim 10, wherein the amount of nicotine provided is reduced by atomizing a reduced amount of nicotine solution.
12. The device of claim 10, wherein the amount of nicotine provided is reduced by mixing nicotine solution with a non-nicotine substance.
13. The device of claim 10, wherein the electronic cigarette includes the flow controller, the flow monitor, a solution cartridge, and the interface.
14. The device of claim 13, wherein the electronic cigarette further includes a processor, a memory, and a mouthpiece.
15. The device of claim 10, wherein breath characteristics are monitored for fluctuations.
16. The device of claim 10, further comprising a nicotine solution cartridge having a nicotine solution and a flavoring solution.
17. The device of claim 10, further comprising a nicotine solution cartridge having multiple nicotine solutions with different nicotine concentrations.
18. The device of claim 10, further comprising memory configured to maintain the nicotine delivery reduction program.
19. The device of claim 10, further comprising an atomizer configured to convert a nicotine solution into vapor.
20. An electronic cigarette, comprising:
means for receiving a nicotine delivery reduction program at a flow controller included in an electronic cigarette;
means for reducing the amount of nicotine provided to the user according to the nicotine delivery reduction program;
means for monitoring breath characteristics associated with the user;
means for temporarily increasing the amount of nicotine provided to the user upon detecting a change in breath characteristics including increased breath rate and/or increased breath depth.
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