The role of subjective responses in electronic cigarette uptake and substitution in adult smokers

Mari S. Gades, Ashley Petersen, Ellen Meier, Bruce R. Lindgren, Richard J. O'Connor, Peter G. Shields, Dorothy Hatsukami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: While a majority of cigarette smokers who use electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) choose to continue using cigarettes, completely switching to e-cigarettes is necessary to reduce tobacco-related harm. Whether specific subjective responses to e-cigarettes are associated with extent of smoking reduction and complete switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes is unclear. This study determined whether initial subjective responses to e-cigarettes related to the successful substitution of e-cigarettes for cigarettes and extent of cigarette and e-cigarette use.

METHODS: Adult cigarette smokers (N = 58) uninterested in quitting were asked to completely substitute their cigarettes with an e-cigarette (Vuse Solo) for 8 weeks. At week 1, subjective responses to e-cigarettes were measured using the Product Evaluation Scale and Drug Effects/Liking Survey. A Poisson regression examined whether any of these initial subjective responses were associated with smoke-free days, e-cigarette puffs, and cigarettes smoked between weeks 6 and 8 after adjustment for potential confounders. A logistic regression examined the relationship between subjective measures and exhaled carbon monoxide (CO) verified 7-day abstinence at week 8 after adjustment for potential confounders.

RESULTS: Following Holm's p-value adjustment, e-cigarette liking and desire were associated with increased e-cigarette use (adjusted p < 0.01) and decreased cigarette use (adjusted p < 0.05). Measures of psychological reward and drug liking were associated with 7-day abstinence, however this association was no longer significant following p-value adjustment.

CONCLUSIONS: Initial subjective responses were related to cigarette and e-cigarette use at weeks 6-8, but not smoke-free days or CO-verified 7-day abstinence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107999
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research reported in this publication was supported by grants U19CA157345 from the National Cancer Institute (DKH/PS), UL1 TR000062 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Science of the National Institutes of Health , and T32 DA007097 from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (MSG; EM). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Abuse liability
  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Responses
  • Smoking
  • Subjective
  • Tobacco regulatory science

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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