Effects of liquid nicotine concentration and flavour on the acceptability of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) among people who smoke participating in a randomised controlled trial to reduce cigarette consumption

Jessica Yingst, Vishal Midya, Augustus White, Jonathan Foulds, Caroline O. Cobb, Susan Veldheer, Miao Shan Yen, Thomas Eissenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Research is needed to understand the acceptability of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) as a smoking reduction aid. This study examines the acceptability of ENDS by liquid nicotine concentration and flavour among people who smoke using ENDS to reduce their smoking. Methods People who smoke cigarettes but were naïve to ENDS participated in a double-blind randomised controlled trial to reduce conventional cigarette smoking. Participants were randomised to either a control cigarette substitute (CS) or one of three ENDS groups; 0 mg/mL, 8 mg/mL or 36 mg/mL nicotine concentration. ENDS flavour was chosen by the participant (tobacco or menthol). Participants reported their CS, ENDS and cigarettes per day (CPD) from the past 7 days at 1-month, 3-month and 6-month follow-up visits. Participants also reported side effects and measures of satisfaction, psychological reward, aversion and craving relief. Outcome variables were modelled using linear mixed effects by the following groups: liquid nicotine concentration, flavour and a flavour-nicotine concentration interaction. Results Participants (n=520) were 41.2% male, 67.3% white, had a mean age of 46.2 years and smoked a mean of 18.6 CPD (SD=7.74) at baseline. All flavour and concentration groups decreased CPD from baseline to all follow-up visits with the 36 mg/mL experiencing the greatest reduction, compared with the 0 mg/mL and 8 mg/mL groups. All groups except the 36 mg/mL group decreased their product use over time. The use of menthol flavour was associated with fewer side effects at 3 months (p=0.02) and lesser aversion at 1 month (p=0.03) compared with tobacco-flavoured ENDS. The 36 mg/mL group experienced the greatest craving relief and greatest aversion compared with other groups. Conclusions Both nicotine concentration and flavour appear to have independent, as well as interactive, effects that influence ENDS acceptability among people who use cigarettes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalTobacco Control
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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