Introduction:The majority of cigarettes sold in the United States and abroad feature filter ventilation holes designed to dilute mainstream smoke. Although initially intended to produce a safer cigarette, data instead suggest that filter ventilation increases total harm from smoking. In the present study, we examined the effects of blocking ventilation holes on behavioral economic demand for cigarettes (i.e., consumption as a function of price). Methods: In a within-subjects design, regular smokers (N = 15) of ventilated cigarettes sampled vent-blocked cigarettes for 3 days. Subsequently, they completed three sessions in which they used an experimental income to purchase vent-blocked and/or control cigarettes across a range of prices. Participants also completed the Drug Effects/Liking Scale. Results: In sessions in which only one cigarette type was available, demand measures were undifferentiated between cigarette types. However, in sessions in which both cigarettes were available at equivalent prices, significantly greater preference for ventilated control cigarettes emerged in demand measures. Regardless of session type, participants also rated vent-blocked cigarettes more poorly in the Drug Effects/Liking Scale (more bad effects, fewer good effects, and less liking, desire, and less likely to use again). Conclusions: Removing filter ventilation reduced cigarette abuse liability, as measured by behavioral economic demand and the Drug Effects/Liking Scale. However, reduced demand was only apparent when both cigarette types were concurrently available.This selective effect suggests that regulatory action banning filter ventilation would only reduce cigarette consumption when effective substitutes for vent-blocked cigarettes are available. Implications: This preliminary study indicates that regulatory action designed to ban or restrict cigarette filter ventilation may decrease cigarette abuse liability as measured by both behavioral economic demand and self-report measures. However, effects of removing filter ventilation on demand measures appear to depend on concurrent availability of alternative, preferred cigarette types.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health grant U19 CA157345. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the views of the National Institutes of Health.