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Neural Markers of Use and Perception of E-cigarettes among Cigarette Smokers

Principal Investigators: C. Kent Osborne and Ramiro Salas

Funding Mechanism:  National Institutes of Health- Grant

ID Number: 3P30CA125123-08S2

Award Date: 7/31/14

Institution: Baylor College of Medicine 

Little scientific data are available on the effects of e-cigarettes on the brain. A non-biased biological tool such as brain imaging could provide important new information about the effects of acute e-cigarette exposure and smokers’ perceptions of these devices. The goal of this study is to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the different effects that regular and e-cigarettes have on the reward system in the brains of 90 cigarette smokers aged 18-55 who have never used e-cigarettes. Specific aims are: (1) to determine if use of e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes have similar effects on activation of the brain’s reward system; (2) to determine if perceptions of e-cigarettes and Surgeon General warnings affect brain activity during a picture-viewing experiment; and (3) to determine whether the reward activity and neural perceptions measured in Aims 1 and 2 are associated with changes in cigarette use and e-cigarette perceptions, satisfaction, and acceptability. By providing new information about the association between reward system activation and perceptions of regular and e-cigarettes, study findings may be used to inform regulatory activities related to e-cigarettes.

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