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Predicting Effects of ENDS Flavor Regulations on Tobacco Behavior, Toxicity, and Abuse Liability among African American Menthol Smokers

Principal Investigators: Andrew Barnes and Caroline Cobb
Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health - Grant
ID Number: 1R01DA050996-01A1
Award Date: 6/15/2021
Institution: Virginia Commonwealth University


More research would be useful regarding how electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) uptake affects tobacco use and associated toxicity among African American (AA) cigarette smokers, particularly those who smoke menthol cigarettes. The goal of this study is to evaluate how future ENDS flavor regulations may impact African American menthol smokers. The study will evaluate whether ENDS menthol flavor availability affects measures of tobacco use, biomarkers of cigarette/ENDS exposure, and addiction among AA menthol smokers (N=210, ages ≥21) by performing a six-week clinical trial of ENDS provision with follow-up to 30 days. Specific aims are: (1) to compare the effect of ENDS flavor availability on patterns of tobacco use behavior; (2) to quantify the effect of ENDS flavor availability on biomarkers of cigarette/ENDS exposure (expired air carbon monoxide, urine cotinine/NNAL, and urine propylene glycol; and (3) to test the effect of ENDS flavor availability on addiction/abuse liability using validated behavioral economic instruments at multiple time points during the trial. Researchers will provide subjects with JUUL devices with compatible cartridges at 5% nicotine and will randomize them to one of three groups that differ by potential FDA regulations related to ENDS flavor availability: (1) the current market where only menthol- and tobacco-flavored ENDS cartridges are available; (2) a market where only tobacco-flavored ENDS are available, and (3) a market where only unflavored cartridges are available. Study visits will occur weekly beginning one week prior to randomization with daily tobacco use monitoring throughout and biomarker/self-report data collection at each in-person visit. Study results may clarify the impact on AA menthol smokers of moving from the current regulatory market where menthol/tobacco-flavored ENDS cartridges are available, to one where only tobacco or unflavored cartridges are available.
 

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