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UMD TCORS: Sweet Flavors in E-Liquids

Principal Investigator: Pamela I. Clark

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health - Grant

ID number:  3 P50 CA180523-02S1

Award Date: 2/22/2015

Institution: University of Maryland

Initial data indicate that e-cigarette flavors perceived as sweet are appealing to young adults and smokers trying to quit combustible cigarette smoking; however, little is known about how sweet e-cigarette flavors influence initiation, maintenance, and smoking cessation. There are also little data on the identity and amounts of the chemicals users inhale when using an e-cigarette flavor perceived as sweet. In this supplement to an ongoing study, investigators will measure the subjective responses (using sensory and hedonistic scales) to seven flavors of a popular commercial e-cigarette of 80 established e-cigarette users (ages 18 and older); participants will include both former and current combustible cigarette smokers. Investigators will then use standard liquid chromatography techniques and two-dimensional gas chromatography with time-of-flight mass spectrometry to analyze the e-cigarette liquids to identify and quantify the chemicals most likely associated with perceptions of sweetness, and will evaluate these compounds for toxicity. Finally, to determine how sweet flavors may be used to mask the bitterness of nicotine, investigators will quantify the sweet-associated chemicals across varying nicotine strengths to determine how levels of these compounds may change with changing nicotine level. Study results may inform regulatory activities related to e-cigarettes and flavors.

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