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Neuroimaging Approaches to Improve Prediction of Smoking Initiation and Nicotine Use Escalation Among Young Adult Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems Users

Principal Investigator: Jiaying Liu

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health – Grant

ID number: 1K01DA049292-01A1

Award Date: 8/5/2020

Institution: University of Georgia


The goal of this study is to identify neurobehavioral markers of nicotine use escalation and cigarette smoking initiation among young adult electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) users.  Study aims are: (1) to identify neural and behavioral markers of ENDS escalation and smoking initiation; (2) to determine whether neural markers add predictive utility beyond traditional measures; and (3) to determine the efficacy of public service announcements (PSAs) and identify neural predictors of PSA efficacy. At baseline, the researcher will measure traditional behavioral and novel brain responses using functional MRI in 180 non-smoking young adult (age 18-20) ENDS users to identify salient predictors of nicotine use escalation and smoking initiation; the researcher will quantify responses to smoking stimuli, vaping stimuli, and associated food stimuli in brain systems associated with cognitive control, emotion, and salience. Responses in the same brain networks will be assessed in response to existing tobacco control education PSAs and PSAs addressing ENDS flavors. Over the following six months, participants will receive weekly PSAs and bi-weekly PSA evaluations via emails and texts. In addition to evaluating the PSAs, participants will report all tobacco product use during the past two weeks. In-person visits at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months will include breath carbon monoxide and urine cotinine tests. Outcomes will include cigarettes smoked, exhaled carbon monoxide levels, urine cotinine levels, and ENDS and tobacco use outcomes. Study findings may inform future regulatory activities related to ENDS. 
 

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