Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Thomas E. Eissenberg


Understanding the factors that influence regular tobacco use often involves detailed assessment of individuals' smoking behavior (i.e., puff topography), including measuring puff number, volume, duration, and inter-puff interval (IPI) via mouthpiece-based, computerized devices. For example, puff topography measurement has been used to study smoking cessation medications, as well as to demonstrate brand-induced changes in smoking behavior. However, some research suggests that the use of a mouthpiece to evaluate puff topography may alter natural smoking behavior. Thus, this study was designed to compare topography measurement using mouthpiece-based methods (i.e., desktop and portable computerized devices) to methods that do not use a mouthpiece (i.e., direct observation via video recordings).Thirty smokers of "full-flavor" or "light" cigarettes (≥15 cigarettes/day) participated in six Latin-square ordered, 2.5-hour experimental sessions. Sessions were separated by at least 48 hours, and were preceded by at least 8 hours of objectively-verified tobacco abstinence (i.e., CO level ≤10 ppm). Conditions differed by type of cigarettes smoked (own brand, Merit® Ultra-light) and by type of topography measurement method used (desktop, portable, video observation). All three measurement methods were sensitive to manipulations of cigarette brand (i.e., increased puff duration and volume for own brand relative to ultra-light; P 0.68). All methods were also reliable, as demonstrated by high correlations across cigarette bouts within each condition (most r's > 0.78). In contrast, participants perceived the use of either mouthpiece-based device to alter aspects of their smoking behavior (e.g., increased difficulty, reduced enjoyment, altered cigarette taste; P < .05) relative to direct observation alone. Although direct observational methods may be optimal for measuring certain smoking characteristics, the many logistical challenges posed by this method likely limit its usefulness in a laboratory setting. Taken together, these results suggest that mouthpiece-based devices offer a convenient and useful tool for researchers examining smoking topography.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

Psychology Commons