Examination of a mouthpiece-based topography device for assessing relative reinforcing effects of e-cigarettes: A preliminary study

Irene Pericot-Valverde, Jeff S. Priest, Theodore L. Wagener, Diann E. Gaalema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The assessment of vaping topography has helped to identify characteristics associated with distinct vaping patterns. Available puff topography devices do not alter the subjective effects of vaping. However, one central construct related to drug abuse, unexplored in prior studies, is whether relative reinforcing effects (RRE) of vaping change when using a topography device. We examined the RRE of vaping when individuals vape through an e-cigarette with a mouthpiece topography device attached versus their own e-cigarette. Associations of demand indices for participants' own e-cigarette and for a research e-cigarette with a topography device were also explored. Forty-three e-cigarette users attended 1 experimental session where they completed 2 purchase tasks in different units of consumption, ml and puffs, with their preferred e-cigarette and with an e-cigarette with a mouthpiece. Puff topography was measured in the mouthpiece condition. All four purchase tasks showed the predicted inverse relationship between purchase and price. No differences in most demand indices were observed between both e-cigarettes, except for breakpoint (lowest price that suppresses consumption) and Omax (maximum expenditure) in ml units which both decreased when participants vaped through the mouthpiece device. Demand indices in ml units were more strongly associated. Data from the purchase tasks suggests that the presence of a mouthpiece topography device does not influence the RRE of vaping among e-cigarette users. Demand for e-cigarettes seems more consistent in ml units. Our results further evidence that mouthpiece topography devices represent a valid and reliable instrument to study RRE of e-cigarettes and, by extension, abuse liability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-18
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Demand indices
  • E-cigarettes
  • Puff topography
  • RRE
  • Topography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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