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The Impact of Nicotine Dose on the Reinforcing Value of Cigarettes in Adolescents

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Objectives: The FDA is considering the implementation of a national nicotine reduction policy for cigarettes, and such a policy may reduce the reinforcing efficacy of cigarettes and ultimately reduce tobacco dependence. However, it is not yet known how different levels of nicotine may affect the reinforcing efficacy of cigarettes in adolescents. We aimed to determine how reduced nicotine content may affect adolescents' demand for cigarettes using the cigarette purchase task (CPT). Methods: Adolescent daily smokers (ages 15-19, N = 50) completed a CPT for their usual brand cigarette and for each dose of SPECTRUM research cigarettes (15.8, 5.2, 1.3, 0.4 mg nicotine/g tobacco) during 4 laboratory sessions. We conducted repeated measures ANOVAs to evaluate the effect of nicotine dose on 5 demand indices derived from the CPT. Results: Tests revealed significantly higher demand for usual brand than each research cigarette dose (all ps < .01); dose did not significantly affect any measure when usual brand was excluded. Conclusions: These results demonstrate the potential utility of the CPT for comparing the reinforcing efficacy of cigarettes varying in nicotine content in adolescents, and indicate a significantly reduced reinforcing efficacy of all research cigarettes relative to usual brand.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2019

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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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