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Yale TCORS: Chemosensory and Physicochemical Factors in Flavor Sweetness of Tobacco Products

Principal Investigator: Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin

Funding Mechanism:  National Institutes of Health - Grant

ID number: 3 P50 DA036151-02S1

Award Date: 1/23/2015

Institution: Yale University


Flavors and sweeteners are present in most e-cigarette solutions and cigars/cigarillos, and are emerging as important determinants of use behaviors; thus, an understanding of how characteristics like smell, taste and constituents alter tobacco product perceptions is critical. This supplement to ongoing research conducted by the Yale Tobacco Center of Regulatory will combine systematic psychophysical measurements of sweet flavor perception and liking with detailed chemical analyses of the base constituents, flavoring and sweetener agents in e-liquids/vapors. The psychophysical measurements will be conducted on 60 adult smokers (ages 18-45) and will include subjective ratings of perceived sweetness, overall flavor intensity, irritation/harshness, and liking/disliking collected using computerized labeled magnitude scales Investigators will also conduct preliminary chemical analyses of the flavor/sweetener composition of cigars/cigarillos, which will be used to support future psychophysical experiments on these products. Study aims are: 1) to determine whether the vegetable glycerin/propylene glycol ratio in e-liquid bases affects the sweetness of e-cigarette flavors; (2) to determine how flavor additives interact to produce the perceived sweetness of e-cigarette liquids containing nicotine; (3) to conduct analytical characterizations of flavors, sweeteners, and nicotine in e-liquids and aerosols, and (4) to initiate exploratory characterizations of flavors and sweeteners in cigar/cigarillo wrapping papers. Study findings may inform regulatory activities related to flavors in e-cigarettes and cigars/cigarillos.