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Dose Effects of Nicotine: Behavioral Economics of Cigarette Abuse Liability

Dose Effects of Nicotine: Behavioral Economics of Cigarette Abuse Liability

Principal Investigator: Matthew W. Johnson

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health – Grant

ID number: 1R01DA042527-01

Award Date: 8/22/2016

Institution: Johns Hopkins University


Reduced nicotine cigarettes may result in decreased nicotine intake and dependence. However, the addictive effects and abuse liability of reduced-nicotine cigarettes are less well understood. The goal of this study is to determine the abuse liability of reduced-nicotine cigarettes compared to standard full-nicotine cigarettes. Study aims are: (1) to determine if six weeks of exposure to reduced nicotine cigarettes reduces demand for reduced nicotine cigarettes; (2) to determine if six weeks of exposure to reduced nicotine cigarettes reduces the abuse liability of full-nicotine cigarettes; (3) to determine the degree to which various levels of nicotine in fixed-price reduced-nicotine cigarettes may substitute for full-nicotine cigarettes when full-nicotine cigarette price increases, both before and after six weeks of exposure to reduced-nicotine cigarettes; (4) to determine the “addictiveness threshold” by examining the above aims with varying levels of reduced nicotine cigarettes across participants; and (5) to determine the relationship between behavioral economic assessments and traditional subject-rated abuse liability assessment (i.e., ratings of “liking”). The study will include 100 non-treatment seeking dependent adult smokers (50 men, 50 women) who will smoke either full nicotine cigarettes (15.8 mg nicotine/g tobacco) or reduced nicotine cigarettes (5.2, 2.4, or 1.3 mg/g) at home for six weeks. Researchers will assess abuse liability using two measures of demand -- lower demand intensity and increased demand elasticity -- as well as other demand measures and subjective ratings of "liking," and will evaluate the degree to which reduced-nicotine cigarettes may substitute for full-nicotine cigarettes.