Cigarette and e-liquid demand and substitution in e-cigarette-naïve smokers

Jeffrey S. Stein, Mikhail N. Koffarnus, Irina Stepanov, Dorothy K. Hatsukami, Warren K. Bickel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Behavioral economic methods allow experimental manipulation of price and examination of its effects on tobacco product purchasing. These methods may be used to examine tobacco product abuse liability and to prospectively model possible effects of price regulation. In the present study, we examined multiple measures of behavioral economic demand for cigarettes and e-liquid for use in a secondgeneration electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) in e-cigarette-naïve cigarette smokers. Twenty-five smokers received an e-cigarette (eGo ONE CT), sampled study e-liquid (24 mg/mL nicotine), and completed recurring sessions in which they used an experimental income to purchase real-world supplies of cigarettes and/or e-liquid. Participants also completed self-report measures of drug effects/liking. When products were available alone, we observed lower demand for e-liquid than for cigarettes. This effect was magnified when cigarettes and e-liquid were available concurrently. In additional assessments, e-liquid served as a partial substitute for cigarettes, but cigarettes did not serve as a substitute for e-liquid. Finally, participants rated e-liquid more poorly than cigarettes on several dimensions of drug effects/liking (any effects, liking, desire, and probability of continued use). We conclude that e-cigarette-naïve smokers value cigarettes more highly than e-liquid across multiple contexts and measurements. Nonetheless, participants still valued e-liquid positively and purchased it frequently, both as a substitute for cigarettes and independently of cigarettes. To understand the variables that influence transitions from exclusive smoking to either dual cigarette/e-cigarette use or exclusive e-cigarette use, future work should systematically examine the role of duration of e-liquid exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-243
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant U19CA157345. The funding agency had no role in study design, data collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data, nor in the preparation and submission of the report, including the decision to submit. All authors contributed in a significant way to the manuscript and have read and approved the final manuscript. Portions of these data were presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the International Study Group Investigating Drugs as Reinforcers, Palm Springs, CA. Warren K. Bickel is a principal of HealthSim, LLC, and Notifius, LLC; a scientific advisory board member of Sober Grid, Inc., and DxRx, Inc.; and a consultant for ProPhase, LLC, and Teva Branded Pharmaceutical Products R&D, Inc.


  • Behavioral economics
  • Cigarettes
  • Demand
  • Substitution
  • e-cigarettes

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Cigarette and e-liquid demand and substitution in e-cigarette-naïve smokers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this