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Impact of Cigar Flavor on Tobacco Use Behaviors and Addiction in Dual Users

Principal Investigator(s): Erin Mead

Funding Mechanism: NIH Grant

ID number: 1K01DA048494-01

Award Date: June 12, 2019

Institution: University of Connecticut School of Medicine


The rapid increase in dual use of flavored little cigars/cigarillos (LCCs) with cigarettes among U.S. young adults has significant implications for their health, addiction, and cessation. The goal of this study is to determine the addiction potential of flavored and unflavored LCCs compared with cigarettes, and if addiction potential varies by flavor and sex, among young adult (ages 18-34) dual users. Study aims are: (1) to characterize the addiction potential of LCCs compared with cigarettes; (2) to determine the extent to which the addiction potential of LCCs varies by flavor and sex of user; and (3) to determine the extent to which flavoring affects LCC use in the natural environment. The study will be conducted over three weeks with 145 young adult dual users of cigarettes and LCCs. Participants will be asked to substitute preferred flavor LCCs for one week and unflavored LCCs for one week in place of their normal LCCs. The study will include survey-based measures and ecological momentary assessments (EMAs) of addiction potential, dependence, and tobacco use, and biomarkers of exposure (exhaled carbon monoxide and urinary cotinine). Addiction potential of cigarettes and LCCs will be characterized by behavioral economic indices of demand (such as hypothetical consumption at escalating prices) and other standardized measures to address Aims 1 and 2. Participants will record their tobacco use, craving, mood, and setting using EMA on their mobile phones to address Aim 3. This study will provide new information about LCCs that may inform regulatory activities. 

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