Can Flavors and Messaging Impact E-Cigarette Abuse Liability? Maybe says new study in Tobacco Regulatory Science

A paper published by investigators at Virginia Commonwealth University in Tobacco Regulatory Science explored whether the effects of flavor access and product messaging of e-cigarettes is comparable to cigarettes.  In a series of controlled studies, they found that e-cigarettes have lower abuse liability than cigarettes.  Cherry flavor might increase abuse liability of e-cigarettes based on this highly controlled study, but menthol and tobacco flavors did not seem to increase abuse liability.  Messaging suggesting reduced harm also can impact abuse liability of e-cigarettes.  The studies are small and need to be replicated, but point to the need for additional research on the role of flavors and messaging in e-cigarette use.


Tobacco Regulatory Science report finds that E-cigarette use among American Indian youth is high


45% of American Indian high school students tried e-cigarettes. One third of e-cigarette users had never smoked.

Dr. Rhoades and team found that e-cigarette use by American Indian youth is influenced by being in high school, ever smoking, having a friend who smoked or vaped, endorsing e-cig use if offered by a friend, knowing someone who vapes, not perceiving e-cigs as harmful, and believing that vapers have more friends.

40% of high school cigarillo users in Connecticut combine it with marijuana, new study in Tobacco Regulatory Science

A study recently published in Tobacco Regulatory Science found that 40% of high school cigarillo users in Connecticut combine it with marijuana to create a ‘blunt’, and the primary reasons high school students there used cigarillos at all is curiosity, appealing flavors of the cigarillo, because friends use them and low cost.  This research has implications for regulation of tobacco by the FDA.



Sales of flavored cigars increased by nearly 50% since 2008 and now make up over half of the cigar market. New report in Tobacco Regulatory Science journal

Delnevo et al. analyzed cigar sales data in US convenience stores during 2008-2015 were purchased from Nielsen’s Convenience Track system. Sales of flavored cigars increased by nearly 50% since 2008 and now make up over half of the cigar market. Fruit remains the most popular flavor group, but the sale of non-descript flavors such as “Jazz” and “Green” has grown substantially. Inexpensive 2- and 3-packs made up less than 1% of cigar sales in 2008, but by 2015 this packaging style held 40% of the market share. Black & Mild and Swisher Sweets dominate the convenience store channel and together are responsible for nearly 60% of total mass-merchandise cigar sales.  These results provide new data on the significant increase in cigar use and characteristics of cigars such as flavors that can now be regulated by the FDA.


NYC policy restricting sales of flavored non-cigarette tobacco products decreased cigar sales: new in Tobacco Regulatory Science

A new study published in Tobacco Regulatory Science (https://tobreg.org) has implications for regulation of flavored cigars.

Scientists at Research Triangle Institute studied the impact of a New York City policy that restricted sales of flavored non-cigarette tobacco products.  Sales of flavored cigars (-22.3%), SLT (-97.6%), and RYO (-42.5%) declined following policy implementation (all ps < .01). Flavored cigar sales declined nonsignificantly in the comparison areas. An average 7.4% reduction in total cigar sales was seen in NYC following the policy (p < .01), as cigar sales increased 12% nationally, suggesting that NYC consumers did not substitute flavored cigars with non-flavored varieties.

New FDA/NIH Tobacco Research Center initiative announcements

The new TCORS 2.0 and CASEL RFAs have just been published.

Below is information about the new RFAs and upcoming webinars. The TRSP Web Team is still in the process of making the webinar landing pages on the TRSP website live (the second sub bullet under each RFA), but they should be live soon. Registration for the webinars (first sub-bullet under each RFA) is open now, however.

RFA-OD-17-002 — Center for Coordination of Analytics, Science, Enhancement, and Logistics (CASEL) in Tobacco Regulatory Science (U54)

Webinar to be held March 27, 2017 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm Eastern


TRSP CASEL webinar landing page with agenda (not yet live but will be soon)– https://prevention.nih.gov/tobacco-regulatory-science-program/funding-opportunities/webinar-rfa-od-17-002

RFA-OD-17-003 — Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science for Research Relevant to the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (U54)

Webinar to be held March 27, 2017 from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm Eastern

TCORS 2.0 Webinar URL and registration site (live)– https://nih.webex.com/nih/onstage/g.php?MTID=e2c5149f93c60095e82c66f52b701ebaa

TRSP TCORS 2.0 webinar landing page with agenda (not yet live but will be soon)– https://prevention.nih.gov/tobacco-regulatory-science-program/funding-opportunities/webinar-rfa-od-17-003

Tobacco Regulatory Science journal: New Method to Learn What Products are Sold in Vape Shops

A recent paper published in Tobacco Regulatory Science demonstrated the results of a new type of survey, the Vape Shop Standardized Tobacco Assessment for Retail Settings (V-STARS).  This survey was used in New Hampshire vape shop retailers to assess product availability, price promotions, and messaging.

Store audits were conducted in 55 stores between January and February 2016 using the Vape Shop Standardized Tobacco Assessment for Retail Settings (V-STARS). Results: Modifiable devices and cig-alikes were sold in 92.6% and 14.6% of stores, respectively. Cross-product promotions with tobacco products were rare, and messaging promoting e-cigarettes as effective cessation devices was found in 27.3% of all stores. Candy/fruit and menthol e-liquids were most commonly found in stores, and sampling of products was available in 83.6% of stores. Ten (18.2%) stores did not have a minimum age sign posted, and self-service sampling displays were available in about one-fifth of stores.

New issue Tobacco Regulatory Science is now available @ https://tobreg.org

The April-June issue of Tobacco Regulatory Science has now been published (https://tobreg.org).  Topics in this issue include research on flavored tobacco use among youth, analysis of a vape shop assessment instrument, recall of e-cigarette advertising by youth, smokefree policy in public housing, and a variety of other topics relevant to tobacco regulation.  Our website now also includes a forum for discussion of those papers, and other topics.   Check it out!!

Philly Housing Authority’s smoking ban cuts secondhand exposure by half

New in Tobacco Regulatory Science, Volume 3, Number 2, April 2017, pp. 192-203(12): Drs. Kassen et al. report that implementing second-hand smoke policy in multi-family housing units can lead to reduced second-hand smoke exposure. The full abstract is below.

Objectives: Multi-unit housing environments remain significant sources of secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure, especially for vulnerable populations in subsidized housing. In Philadelphia, the largest US housing authority to implement smoke-free policies, we measured baseline resident smoking-related behaviors and attitudes, and longitudinal exposures to airborne nicotine, during policy development and implementation. Methods: In 4 communities, we collected data in 2013, 2014, and 2016, before and after introduction of comprehensive smoke-free policies, interviewing persons in 172 households, and monitoring air-borne nicotine in non-smoking homes and public areas. Average nicotine level differences across years were estimated with multi-level models. Results: Fifty-six percent of respondents smoked. Only 37% of households were smoke- free, with another 41% restricting smoking by area or time of day. The number of locations with detectable nicotine did not differ before and after policy implementation, with approximately 20% of non-smoking homes and 70%-80% of public areas having detectable nicotine. However, public area nicotine levels were lower in 2016, after policy implementation, than in 2013 and 2014 (-0.19 μg/m3, p = .03). Conclusions: Findings suggest that initial policy implementation was associated with reduced SHS exposure in Philadelphia. As HUD strengthens smoke-free policies, SHS monitoring can be useful to educate stakeholders and build support for policy enforcement.

Click here to read the news article.