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USC TCORS Project 4: Human Laboratory Research to Inform Precision Regulation of E-cigarettes Across Populations

Principal Investigators: Adam Matthew Leventhal

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health – TCORS Grant

ID number: 2 U54 CA180905-06

Award Date: 9/14/18

Institution: University of Southern California


E-cigarettes may adversely impact the health of some populations (e.g., young never-smokers), but also may reduce health risk in others (e.g., middle-aged/older smokers who completely switch to e-cigarettes). The goal of this project is to identify dimensions of e-cigarette product diversity that put young adult never-smokers at risk of using e-cigarettes, yet do not deter middle/older adult smokers from adopting and potentially switching to e-cigarettes. Study aims are: (1) to determine which dimensions of e-cigarette product diversity differentially affect product appeal in never-smoking young adult e-cigarette users and middle-aged/older adult smokers with an interest in, but no significant experience with, e-cigarettes; (2) to determine which dimensions of e-cigarette product diversity differentially affect abuse liability in never-smoking young adult e-cigarette users and ability to resist smoking in middle-aged/older adult smokers with an interest in, but no significant experience with, e-cigarettes; and (3) to examine sex differences in the effects of product diversity on appeal, abuse liability, and ability to resist smoking by testing sex and product dimension interactions. In two studies, subjects will self-administer e-cigarette products varied according to three dimensions: flavor (e.g., sweet vs. menthol vs. tobacco); propylene glycol/vegetable glycerin ratio (e.g., 20:80 vs. 40:60 vs. 60:40 vs. 80:20); and packaging design (e-liquid characterizing flavor label [e.g., “peach”] vs. youth-oriented non-characterizing flavor [e.g., “gummy heaven”] vs. non-characterizing flavor + cartoon). The Aim 1 study will test product exposure effects on subjective ratings of appeal (e.g., liking, desire to use again). The Aim 2 study will test product exposure effects on choice to use (vs. earn money) the previously-exposed e-cigarette product (an abuse liability test; never-smoking young adults only), or own brand cigarettes (test of ability to resist smoking; middle-age/older adult smokers only). Findings may inform future regulatory activities related to e-cigarettes.


USC TCORS: Investigating the Intersections of Products with Diverse Populations Related Resources