An Analysis of the Reinforcing Value of Cigarettes and E-cigarettes among Nicotine Dependent Cigarette Smokers using the Multiple Choice Procedure
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Program/Department of Justice
7/11/2011 – 12/31/2012
This study evaluated the reinforcing value of e-cigarettes among nicotine-dependent cigarette smokers when compared to money or use of their usual cigarette brand using the multiple-choice procedure (MCP). This research is crucial as reinforcing efficacy is widely accepted as the hallmark of addiction and the alteration (reduction) of reinforcing efficacy is the heart of all successful treatment approaches. The present study had two primary aims. First, we aimed to evaluate the reinforcing value of e-cigarettes among nicotine-dependent cigarette smokers when compared to money or use of their usual cigarette brand. Using the well-validated MCP, participants made choices between (1) a cigarette and money, (2) an e-cigarette and money, and (3) a cigarette, an e-cigarette, and money. We estimated that the reinforcing value of cigarettes would be higher for nicotine-dependent cigarette smokers than the reinforcing value of e-cigarettes. Second, we aimed to obtain acute subjective and physiological ratings of e-cigarette and cigarette effects in order to make comparisons between the two smoking vehicles. We estimated that their usual brand of cigarette would be rated as a more effective means of reducing withdrawal symptoms and craving, aligning with the predicted higher monetary crossover point on the MCP indicating that cigarettes are a more powerful reinforcer than e-cigarettes.