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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2019 Nov 15;206:107740. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.107740. [Epub ahead of print]

Single- and cross-commodity delay discounting of money and e-cigarette liquid in experienced e-cigarette users.

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School of Health Research, Clemson University, 605 Grove Road, Greenville, SC 29605, United States; Prisma Health-Upstate, Department of Internal Medicine, 701 Grove Road, Greenville, SC 29605, United States. Electronic address:
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, 1941 East Road, Houston, TX 77054, United States.
Vermont Center on Behavior and Health, 1 South Prospect Street, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05401, United States; Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry, 1 South Prospect Street, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05401, United States.



Delay discounting (DD) research has improved our understanding of important behavioral processes associated with tobacco use. Little research has explored DD among e-cigarette users, and these studies have exclusively examined money as the only available commodity. This secondary analysis of a laboratory study explored discounting for money and e-liquid among e-cigarette users using two single-commodity discounting (SCD) tasks and one cross-commodity discounting (CCD) task. A secondary goal was to explore the extent to which results from the SCD and CCD tasks were correlated to each other and with measures of e-cigarette use.


E-cigarette users (N = 27) completed two SCD tasks and one CCD task. The SCD tasks assessed choices between various amounts of either money now versus money later (M-M) or e-liquid now versus e-liquid later (mL-mL). The CCD task assessed choices between e-liquid now versus money later (mL-M). Discounting results were compared using logk and AUClog.


Discounting was greatest in the mL-mL task, followed by the M-M task, and then the mL-M task. AUClog and logk were significantly correlated across all discounting tasks. Attempts to quit vaping was positively associated with logk and negatively associated with AUClog and in both SCD tasks.


E-cigarette users discount e-liquid more than money in a SCD task. However, when the two commodities, money and e-liquid (CCD), are compared the substance of abuse is discounted to a lesser extent. Interventions that provide alternative reinforcers to compete with the reinforcing effects of nicotine intake may be especially indicated for treating e-cigarette dependence.


Cross-commodity discounting; Delay discounting; E-cigarettes; Impulsivity; Single-commodity discounting

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