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Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2018 Oct;28(10):1089-1102. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2018.07.102. Epub 2018 Aug 6.

Sweet taste potentiates the reinforcing effects of e-cigarettes.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06511, USA; The John B. Pierce Laboratory, New Haven, CT 06519, USA; Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Tübingen, 72076 Tübingen, Germany; Department of Psychiatry and Neuroimaging Center, Technische Universität Dresden, 01187 Dresden, Germany. Electronic address: nils.kroemer@uni-tuebingen.de.
2
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06511, USA; The John B. Pierce Laboratory, New Haven, CT 06519, USA.
3
The John B. Pierce Laboratory, New Haven, CT 06519, USA; School of Nursing, Yale University, Orange, CT 06477, USA.
4
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06511, USA; The John B. Pierce Laboratory, New Haven, CT 06519, USA; Division of Endocrinology, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON M5G 1X8, Canada.
5
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06511, USA.
6
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06511, USA; The John B. Pierce Laboratory, New Haven, CT 06519, USA; Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA. Electronic address: dana.small@yale.edu.

Abstract

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are becoming increasingly popular. The popularity of fruit flavors among e-cigarette users suggests that sweet taste may contribute to e-cigarette appeal. We therefore tested whether sweet taste potentiates the reinforcing effects of nicotine. Using a conditioning paradigm adapted to study e-cigarettes, we tested whether exposure to flavored e-cigarettes containing nicotine plus sweet taste would be more reinforcing than unsweetened e-cigarettes. Sixteen light cigarette smokers smoked 4 distinctly colored e-cigarettes containing sweetened and unsweetened flavors with or without nicotine for 2 days each. Brain response was then assessed to the sight and smell of the 4 exposed e-cigarettes using fMRI. After exposure, sweet-paired flavors were wanted (p = .024) and tended to be liked (p = .053) more than nicotine-paired flavors. Moreover, sweet taste supra-additively increased liking for nicotine-paired flavors in individuals who did not show increased liking for nicotine alone (r = -.67, p = .005). Accordingly, cues predicting sweet compared to non-sweet flavors elicited a stronger response in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc, pSVC = .050) and the magnitude of response to the sight (pSVC = .022) and smell (pSVC = .017) of the e-cigarettes correlated with changes in liking. By contrast, the sight and smell of cues predicting nicotine alone failed to elicit NAcc response. However, the sight and smell of e-cigarettes paired with sweet+nicotine (pSVC = .035) produced supra-additive NAcc responses. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that sweet taste potentiates the reinforcing effects of nicotine in e-cigarettes resulting in heightened brain cue-reactivity.

KEYWORDS:

Addictive liability; Electronic cigarettes; Flavor conditioning; Reward; Smoking; fMRI

PMID:
30093174
DOI:
10.1016/j.euroneuro.2018.07.102
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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