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  1. Tobacco Science & Research

Addiction and Behavior Related to Menthol Cigarette Substitutes

Addiction and Behavior Related to Menthol Cigarette Substitutes

Principal Investigators: Theodore Lee Wagener and Andrea Villanti

Funding Mechanism: NIH Grant

ID number: 1R21DA046333-01A1

Award Date: 8/31/2018

Institution: University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center


Several products in the tobacco marketplace – including mentholated pipe tobacco (for roll-your-own cigarettes, mRYO), menthol filtered little cigars (mFLC), and non-menthol cigarettes (nmC) -- could serve as substitutes for menthol cigarettes. The goal of this study is to examine the abuse liability and substitutability of these potential menthol cigarette alternatives. Specific aims are: (1) to assess the abuse liability of menthol cigarette alternatives; (2) to assess the substitutability of menthol cigarette alternatives; and (3) to evaluate which product characteristics and perceived effects influence greater substitution. Eighty current menthol cigarette smokers (40 smokers ages 18-24 and 40 smokers ages 25+) will complete a three-phase study. In Phase 1, participants will complete four smoking sessions, smoking a different product in each session to examine each product’s abuse liability, demand, and topography. Products will include participants’ usual brand menthol cigarette (UBMC) and three commercially-available alternatives, including mFLC, an mRYO product, and nmC. In Phase 2, to assess uptake, changes in subjective effects, and use over time, participants will select their preferred study product from Phase 1 and completely substitute the product for their UBMC for one week. Participants will complete ecological momentary assessments (EMA) during this period to more accurately assess substitution and perceived effects in real time. In Phase 3, participants will complete a final laboratory visit to assess the substitutability of their preferred product from Phases 1 and 2, under simulated menthol cigarette ban conditions using a progressive ratio task. In all phases, multiple domains of abuse liability will be assessed, including product administration, product liking/craving, and withdrawal suppression. Findings will provide new information regarding the substitutability of potential menthol cigarette substitutes in adult smokers and may inform future regulatory activities related to menthol cigarettes.