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Abuse Liability of Reduced Nicotine Content Cigarettes within a Complex Tobacco Marketplace

Abuse Liability of Reduced Nicotine Content Cigarettes within a Complex Tobacco Marketplace

Principal Investigators: Warren K. Bickel and Mikhail N. Koffarnus

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health – Grant

ID number: 1R01DA042535-01

Award Date: 8/15/2016

Institution: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Research regarding how reduced nicotine cigarettes are valued by smokers may provide information about their abuse liability. The goal of this study is to use behavioral economic methods to examine consumption of reduced-nicotine cigarettes within the context of the larger tobacco marketplace. Study aims are: (1) to examine the effect of nicotine concentration in tobacco and resulting plasma nicotine on laboratory behavioral economic measures of demand intensity and elasticity, and (2) to assess behavioral economic measures of demand intensity and elasticity of cigarettes and substitution by dose in the Experimental Tobacco Marketplace under four conditions that mimic two different potential regulatory environments and two control conditions. To achieve Aim 1, researchers will ask daily cigarette smokers to consume, on separate sessions, controlled puffs of a cigarette containing a blinded concentration of nicotine and then complete a cigarette purchase task while plasma nicotine is measured. To achieve Aim 2, researchers will use the Experimental Tobacco Marketplace, a method that allows experimental price manipulation while simulating real-world markets featuring different tobacco products; two different regulatory environments will be studied. Experiments will determine how valued reduced-nicotine cigarettes are, whether reduced-nicotine cigarettes are preferred and substitute for conventional cigarettes in a complex tobacco marketplace, and whether the introduction of reduced-nicotine cigarettes into the marketplace influences the consumption of other combustible and non-combustible nicotine products.