Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Thomas Eissenberg, PhD


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of sucralose and nicotine in otherwise unflavored PG/VG ECIG liquid solutions, via a 30-watt ECIG, using multiple measures predictive of abuse liability to provide a basic understanding of the effects of sweeteners and perceived sweetness on ECIG abuse liability in reference to combustible cigarettes. Fourteen dependent smokers completed five independent study sessions that were within-subject, Latin-square ordered, and were identical in regards to all aspects but the product used. In each session, participants were given either their own brand of cigarettes or one of the four ECIG conditions: 0 mg/mL nicotine, unsweetened liquid solution, 0 mg/mL nicotine, sucralose-sweetened liquid solution, 15 mg/mL nicotine, unsweetened liquid solution, or a 15 mg/mL nicotine, a sucralose-sweetened liquid solution. Abuse liability was assessed via plasma nicotine delivery, hypothetical purchase tasks, a progressive-ratio self-administration task, and subjective questionnaires. Overall, own-brand cigarettes had a higher abuse liability than the ECIG conditions examined on nearly all measures of abuse liability. In regards to the ECIG conditions, the results from this study suggest that the presence of sucralose and nicotine elevates ECIG abuse liability through different mechanisms; sucralose appeared to influence abuse liability through product appeal, and nicotine appeared to influence abuse liability through drug effects and tobacco abstinence symptom suppression. Policies that restrict or ban sucralose and other sweeteners from ECIGs may protect youth and young adult populations from initiating ECIG use while preserving the potential for ECIGs to help smokers quit combustible cigarettes.


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