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Initial Development of an E-cigarette Purchase Task: A Mixed Methods Study

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Objectives: Behavioral economic purchase tasks, which estimate demand for drugs, have been developed for cigarettes and are widely used. However, a validated purchase task does not yet exist for e-cigarettes. The aim of this project was to identify the relevant units for an e-cigarette purchase task (E-CPT). Methods: We conducted focus groups (N = 28 participants in 7 groups, 2-7 participants per group) consisting of current e-cigarette users. Participants discussed their daily use patterns, completed a preliminary E-CPT that asked how many puffs of their e-cigarette they would consume per day at escalating prices, and discussed the extent to which the task accurately reflected their real-world behavior. Groups were recorded and transcribed; analysis focused on statements related to daily consumption and the E-CPT. Results: Participants were unlikely to quantify their daily use in terms of puffs, and perceptions about the appropriate unit for an E-CPT varied across device type. Users of first-generation devices (eg, cig-a-likes) reported that the relevant unit was the individual device/cartridge; however, participants who purchased nicotine liquid for their device emphasized that e-liquid volume in milliliters would better reflect their use. Conclusions: Multiple versions of the E-CPT may be necessary to provide valid measures of e-cigarette demand.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2017-04-01

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  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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