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Experimental tobacco marketplace: substitutability of e-cigarette liquid for cigarettes as a function of nicotine strength
  1. Derek A Pope1,
  2. Lindsey Poe1,
  3. Jeffrey S Stein1,
  4. Brent A Kaplan1,
  5. Bryan W Heckman2,
  6. Leonard H Epstein3,
  7. Warren K Bickel1,4,5,6,7,8
  1. 1Addiction Recovery Research Center, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, Roanoke, Virginia, USA
  2. 2Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA
  3. 3Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA
  4. 4Graduate Program in Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health, Virginia Tech, Roanoke, Virginia, USA
  5. 5Department of Psychology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA
  6. 6Department of Neuroscience, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA
  7. 7Faculty of Health Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA
  8. 8Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Roanoke, Virginia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Warren K Bickel, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, Roanoke, VA 24016, USA; wkbickel{at}vtc.vt.edu

Abstract

Background The experimental tobacco marketplace (ETM) provides a method to estimate, prior to implementation, the effects of new products or policies on purchasing across various products in a complex tobacco marketplace. We used the ETM to examine the relationship between nicotine strength and substitutability of alternative products for cigarettes to contribute to the literature on regulation of e-liquid nicotine strength.

Methods The present study contained four sampling and four ETM purchasing sessions. During sampling sessions, participants were provided 1 of 4 e-liquid strengths (randomised) to sample for 2 days followed by an ETM purchasing session. The nicotine strength sampled in the 2 days prior to an ETM session was the same strength available for purchase in the next ETM. Each participant sampled and could purchase 0 mg/mL, 6 mg/mL, 12 mg/mL and 24 mg/mL e-liquid, among other products, during the study.

Results Cigarette demand was unaltered across e-liquid strength. E-liquid was the only product to substitute for cigarettes across more than one e-liquid strength. Substitutability increased as a function of e-liquid strength, with the 24 mg/mL displaying the greatest substitutability of all products.

Conclusions The present study found that e-liquid substitutability increased with nicotine strength, at least up to 24 mg/mL e-liquid. However, the effects of e-liquid nicotine strength on cigarette purchasing were marginal and total nicotine purchased increased as e-liquid nicotine strength increased.

  • nicotine
  • electronic nicotine delivery devices
  • economics
  • harm reduction
  • price

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Footnotes

  • Contributors All authors have contributed to and approved the submission materials.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and by NIH Grant No. P01 CA200512, 2015. BWH was supported by K23 DA041616.

  • Competing interests WKB is a principal in HealthSim, LLC, and NotifiUs, LLC.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval The Virginia Tech Institutional Review Board approved all procedures and protocols.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Readers are encouraged to email wkbickel@vtc.vt.edu to obtain more data for this study.

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