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Addict Behav. 2018 Dec 17;92:53-57. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.12.013. [Epub ahead of print]

E-cigarette nicotine dose and flavor: Relationship with appeal, choice, and tobacco use amongst veterans with comorbid psychiatric disorders.

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Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, New Haven, CT, USA. Electronic address:
Yale School of Public Health, Department of Biostatistics, New Haven, CT, USA.
Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, New Haven, CT, USA; VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, CT, USA.



Electronic cigarettes (EC) may aid some smokers in reducing combustible tobacco use. Smokers with psychiatric co-morbidities tend to have higher nicotine dependence and worse outcomes, so may particularly benefit from alternative cessation aids. EC characteristics, like nicotine level and flavor, may influence EC's appeal to smokers. Nicotine level may impact EC's efficacy in reducing combustible cigarette use.


Non-treatment-seeking cigarette smokers with medical/psychiatric co-morbidities rated 'liking' of ECs varying in nicotine level (12 mg, 24 mg) and flavor (menthol, 'slim'-tobacco, 'burley'-tobacco), during an open-label Choice Procedure. Smokers (N = 43) chose ECs for a 4-week take-home-trial, and used EC and/or combustible cigarettes as they wished. Analyses examined ratings and choice by nicotine level and flavor, and the relationship between consistent take-home choice of 12 mg versus 24 mg baseline demographic/smoking characteristics, and outcomes (cigarettes/day, nicotine intake, motivation to quit smoking) during take-home-trial and one-month follow-up.


Smokers who chose menthol-flavor, tobacco-flavor and/or 24 mg nicotine e-liquids for the first take-home week rated these conditions as more 'liked' than alternative options, at baseline. Groups who chose 12 mg versus 24 mg throughout the take-home trial did not significantly differ on baseline characteristics, or smoking-related outcomes within the take-home trial, however, motivation to quit smoking increased more from baseline to one-month follow-up in choosers of higher nicotine (24 mg) ECs.


Associations between subjective ratings and subsequent choice support feasibility of open-label choice-procedures in EC trials. Access to 12 mg or 24 mg nicotine ECs was associated with reduced smoking, and 24 mg ECs with increased motivation to quit smoking in smokers with medical/psychiatric co-morbidities.


E-cigarettes; Flavor; Nicotine; Psychiatric co-morbidities; Smoking; Tobacco harm reduction

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