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VCU TCORS: Comparison of Methods for Measurement of Electronic Cigarette Topography

VCU TCORS: Comparison of Methods for Measurement of Electronic Cigarette Topography

Principal Investigator: Thomas Eissenberg

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health - Grant

ID number:  3P50DA036105-03S1

Award Date: 11/20/2015

Institution: Virginia Commonwealth University


The ability of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) to deliver nicotine depends not only on their product characteristics but also on user behavior. Estimating the impact of user behavior on nicotine delivery involves measuring puffing behavior (i.e., puff topography), including puff number, volume, duration, inter-puff-interval, and flow rate. Puff topography measurement is accomplished with direct observation (e.g., video recordings of actual use) or computerized device methods. Previously, the researchers developed a computerized e-cigarette topography device, the eTop, and used it to demonstrate topography differences between users with and without e-cigarette experience. However, the eTop uses a mouthpiece that is compatible only with e-cigarette models that a have a cylindrical mouthpiece shape (i.e., “ciga-like” models). Researchers subsequently developed the mouthpiece-free eTop 2.0 for use with e-cigarette models of nearly any design and mouthpiece style, including tank models. The specific aim of this proof-of-concept study is to compare the sensitivity, reliability, and validity of the eTop, the eTop 2.0, and direct observation. Thirty experienced e-cigarette users and 30 cigarette users with no e-cigarette experience will participate in three experimental conditions that differ by these three measurement methods. Within each condition, participants will complete three e-cigarette puffing bouts, answer subjective questionnaires before and after each bout, and have their heart rate and blood pressure tested. Results will be used to determine whether the eTop 2.0 provides an accurate estimate of e-cigarette puff topography.