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USC TCORS: Abuse Liability of Flavored E-Cigarettes with and without Nicotine

Principal Investigator: Jonathan Samet

Funding Mechanism:  National Institutes of Health - Grant

ID number: 3 P50 CA180905-02S1

Award Date: 2/10/2015

Institution: University of Southern California


Data characterizing the variation in abuse liability across different types of e-cigarettes are scant. Flavoring in e-cigarettes is a critical dimension of product diversity that may modulate abuse liability. Young adults may be especially vulnerable to using sweet-flavored e-cigarettes. The goal of this supplement to an ongoing study is to evaluate the abuse liability of sweet-flavored e-cigarettes with and without nicotine in 30 young adult e-cigarette users (ages 18-35). Study aims are: (1) to identify the main effects of sweet flavored (vs. unflavored) e-cigarettes on abuse liability; (2) to identify the main effects of nicotine (vs. placebo) e-cigarettes on abuse liability; and (3) to identify the interactive effects of flavoring and nicotine on abuse liability. Participants will attend four laboratory sessions following 16-hour abstinence; all sessions will be identical except the study e-cigarette flavor/drug combination supplied in a particular visit will vary (flavored + nicotine [18 mg/mL]; unflavored + nicotine [18 mg/mL]; flavored + placebo [0 mg/mL]; unflavored + placebo [0 mg/mL]). At each visit, investigators will evaluate subjective and physiological abuse liability measures (e.g., mood enhancement, nicotine withdrawal suppression, food craving suppression, heart rate); participants will also complete an objective behavioral task to measure product reinforcement. Study findings may inform regulatory activities related to e-cigarette flavors.