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Psychometric Validation of an E-Cigarette Purchase Task in Users of Advanced Generation Devices

Psychometric Validation of an E-Cigarette Purchase Task in Users of Advanced Generation Devices

Principal Investigator: Rachel Cassidy

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health-Grant

ID number: 1R03DA041820-01

Award Date: 4/1/2016

Institution: Brown University


The use of e-cigarettes, particularly advanced-generation refillable e-cigarettes, is rapidly growing. However, little is understood about the strength of users’ motivation to continue using e-cigarettes, known as reinforcing efficacy. One tool for assessing reinforcing efficacy is a behavioral economic purchase task, in which participants estimate their daily consumption of a product at escalating prices; if demand for the product remands strong even as prices rise, then the product’s reinforcing efficacy is strong. To date, a purchase task specifically designed for e-cigarettes has not been validated. In preliminary work, the investigator developed two versions of an e-cigarette purchase task (E-CPT) in which daily consumption was measured either in puffs or in mLs of nicotine liquid. The goal of this study is examine the validity of both versions of the E-CPT to determine which one is a better measure of use behavior and reinforcing efficacy. Study aims are: (1) to validate indices of demand derived from an E-CPT against laboratory measures of e-cigarette use behavior and dependence in refillable e-cigarette users, and (2) to determine which daily unit of consumption (puffs or mLs of nicotine liquid) more accurately reflects actual use behavior. In this study, 120 refillable e-cigarette users (ages 18-60) will complete both versions of the E-CPT as well as other self-report measures of e-cigarette use and dependence. Then, participants will be videotaped using their own refillable e-cigarette for one hour. Measures of demand derived from the E-CPT will be compared with puffs taken, inter-puff interval, and other measures of use and dependence in order to determine which version of the E-CPT better characterizes the actual use of these products. Additional analyses using the validated version of the E-CPT will examine whether demand indices predict current cigarette use, traditional cigarette quit status, and other variables. This project will result in a validated measure of the reinforcing efficacy of refillable e-cigarettes that can be used to describe user behavior and provide insight into how behavior might change as a function of e-cigarette price changes.