Objectives Sensory methods use human senses to evaluate product attributes. This review provides an overview of the types of sensory methods used to evaluate the perception of flavour in tobacco and other nicotine-containing (ToNic) products and to discuss how sensory data could inform flavoured ToNic product policy.
Data sources PubMed, Embase and Web of Science.
Study selection All peer-reviewed studies evaluating ToNic products using a sensory method published before 23 May 2020.
Data extraction Two independent coders completed title/abstract and full-text screening to choose articles for inclusion (Cohen’s kappa=0.85, strong agreement). Each coder completed data extraction on half the articles, recording relevant information (eg, sensory methods used, results). The coders categorised sensory methods and generated overarching themes.
Data synthesis Of 110 articles identified, we included 29 articles containing 35 studies that used sensory methods to investigate ToNic products. The sensory methods included analytic methods such as discrimination and descriptive tests and hedonic methods such as liking tests. Six themes emerged regarding how sensory methods can be used to understand consumer perception and liking of ToNic products and to inform ToNic product policy.
Conclusions The identified studies highlight that sensory data can inform ToNic product policy. Analytic and sensory hedonic ratings can be used to assess a ToNic product’s ability to promote addiction in the user (ie, abuse liability). Lastly, hedonic ratings can provide information to assess potential use behaviours.
- public policy
- electronic nicotine delivery devices
- non-cigarette tobacco products
- hand-rolled/RYO tobacco
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Contributors All authors contributed to conceptualisation, interpretation of results and editing of the manuscript. JKB conducted the literature search with assistance from an informationist. JKB and KJJ performed all coding tasks. JKB, KJJ and RT wrote the first draft. EJZK, SB and SFR provided extensive feedback and editing of all drafts. All authors reviewed and approved the final version.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Disclaimer This publication represents the views of the authors and does not represent FDA/CTP position or policy.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Author note References with a dagger indicate articles included in the systematic review, while references with an asterisk indicate industry-funded research.
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