Harsh and Sweet Sensations Predict Acute Liking of Electronic Cigarettes, but Flavor Does Not Affect Acute Nicotine Intake: A Pilot Laboratory Study in Men

Allison N. Baker, Alyssa J. Bakke, Steven A. Branstetter, John E. Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Electronic cigarette use is increasing in popularity, and thousands of flavors are available. Adolescent vaping rates in the United States have nearly doubled in the past year. Unlike combustible tobacco, added flavors are not currently regulated for some types of electronic cigarette products. Here, we investigated the role of flavor in electronic cigarette liking and acute intake. METHODS: Men (n = 39) aged 18-45 vaped in a controlled laboratory setting after being randomized to one of four e-liquids: 6 mg nicotine/mL cherry, 18 mg/mL cherry, 6 mg/mL chocolate, or 18 mg/mL chocolate. They completed several questionnaires, and vaped ad libitum for 10 minutes. After the first puff, participants rated sensations (sweetness, bitterness, coolness, harshness/irritation) on general labeled magnitude scales (gLMS) and rated overall liking on a generalized hedonic scale. Once the 10-minute session ended, participants made another set of ratings. RESULTS: Liking was generally stable across the vaping session and liking varied substantially across the four conditions. Across all conditions, sensory ratings predicted liking: harshness/irritation was negatively associated with first puff liking, whereas perceived sweetness was positively associated with first puff liking. First puff liking associated with increased amount of e-liquid vaped, but not total nicotine intake. Participants appeared to titrate their nicotine intake regardless of assigned condition. CONCLUSION: Flavored e-liquids affect acute liking ratings, but not acute nicotine intake. IMPLICATIONS: These data suggest individuals who regularly vape may titrate their nicotine intake, regardless of flavor, and contrary to expectations, acute liking did not predict total nicotine intake. However, more-liked flavors may potentially make higher nicotine levels more tolerable by adding pleasant sensations directly, rather than by perceptual masking that reduces aversive sensations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)687-693
Number of pages7
JournalNicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 19 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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