Modeling the effect of stress on vaping behavior among young adults: A randomized cross-over pilot study

Irene Pericot-Valverde, Moonseong Heo, Alain H. Litwin, Jiajing Niu, Diann E. Gaalema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Laboratory models have been useful in identifying the motivational processes underlying tobacco use. This pilot study aimed at (1)validating a human laboratory model initially developed for smokers to e-cigarette users; (2)applying this model to examine the effects of stress on the reinforcing value of nicotine among young adults. Methods: Using a randomized cross-over design, young e-cigarette users (n = 30) who were nicotine deprived were exposed to a stress or a non-stress task, and then engaged in a laboratory task assessing vaping's reward value on two separate days. During the first part of the task, participants had the option of initiating an e-cigarette self-administration session or delaying initiation for up to 50 min in exchange for money. During the second part of the task, participants chose between vaping or receiving money. The length of the delay and the number of e-cigarette uses consumed were the primary outcomes. Craving and puff topography were secondary outcomes. Results: There was no difference in the length of time that participants were able to refrain from vaping in the stress and control task (p =.90). Participants purchased and consumed more puffs after being exposed to the stress task compared to the control task (p<.001), puff topography and craving were unaffected. Conclusions: Exposure to a stressor did not undermine the ability to resist vaping among deprived e-cigarette users (first part), but it influenced the number of uses purchased once users decided to vape (second part). This study evidences that these two parts of the task for assessing reward value are differentially sensitive to the stress manipulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108798
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • E-cigarettes
  • Negative affect
  • Reinforcing value
  • Stress
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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