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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2019 Aug 1;203:27-34. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.05.024. [Epub ahead of print]

Influence of electronic cigarette liquid flavors and nicotine concentration on subjective measures of abuse liability in young adult cigarette smokers.

Author information

1
Center for the Study of Tobacco Products, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA; Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA. Electronic address: cobbco@vcu.edu.
2
Center for the Study of Tobacco Products, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA; Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA.
3
Center for the Study of Tobacco Products, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA; Department of Biostatistics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA.
4
Center for the Study of Tobacco Products, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA; Department of Internal Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA.
5
Center for the Study of Tobacco Products, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA; Department of African American Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A rapidly evolving tobacco marketplace highlights the timeliness of the FDA's authority to regulate tobacco, specifically the role that flavorings in nicotine-containing electronic cigarette (ECIG) liquids have on public health. This study aimed to evaluate the extent to which ECIG liquid flavor and nicotine concentration influenced subjective measures of abuse liability among young adult cigarette (cig) smokers.

METHODS:

Young adult (18-21 y.o.) smokers (M = 10.1 cig/day, no regular ECIG use history) completed 7 Latin-square ordered conditions each preceded by 12 h. nicotine/tobacco abstinence. Conditions were own brand cig (OB) and eGo-style ECIG paired with three liquid flavors (cream, tropical fruit, tobacco/menthol) varying in nicotine concentration (0 or 36 mg/ml). Products were administered in two 10-puff bouts in each condition. Heart rate/blood pressure (HR/BP) and tobacco/nicotine abstinence symptoms, nicotine/general drug effects, and acceptability measures were assessed repeatedly throughout sessions. Mixed linear models were followed-up with Tukey's HSD t-tests.

RESULTS:

HR/BP indicated nicotine exposure during nicotine-containing conditions. OB and tobacco/menthol 36 mg/ml conditions produced significant decreases in ratings of cig smoking urges. Nicotine/drug effects were elevated significantly for OB and 36 mg/ml ECIG conditions with one exception noted for the tobacco/menthol 0 mg/ml condition. OB had the highest acceptability ratings, and ECIG condition results varied by acceptability item.

CONCLUSIONS:

Among young adult smokers, ECIG conditions containing nicotine were positively associated with several subjective measures of abuse liability but not all. Flavors did not consistently mask/enhance effects observed. Results reinforce continued examination of ECIG-delivered nicotine and liquid flavors in relationship to abuse liability.

KEYWORDS:

Abuse liability; Cigarette smoking; Electronic cigarette; Flavor; Nicotine; Subjective; Young adult

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