Assessment of abuse liability and switching potential of menthol-flavored pod-based electronic nicotine delivery systems among US adults who smoke cigarettes

Categories: Data, Publications

Menthol-flavored electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) are a focus of public health and regulatory policy considerations. The abuse liability of five menthol-flavored pod-based ENDS was compared to combustible cigarettes, and switching potential of ENDS was also evaluated.

Goldenson SI. Shiffman S. Sembower MA. Black RA. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2024 May 1:258:111279. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2024.111279. Epub 2024 Apr 2.

215 US adults who smoke cigarettes (34.4% female; mean age[SD]=29.60[8.75]; 40.9% non-Hispanic White; mean cigarettes/day[SD]=12.04[8.52]) completed a randomized 6-arm within-person cross-over product-use study. Participants used five pod-based menthol-flavored ENDS (JUUL2 Polar Menthol 1.5%, JUUL2 Prototype Fresh Menthol 3.0%, JUUL Menthol 5.0%, Vuse Alto Menthol 5.0%, NJOY Ace Menthol 5.0%) and their usual brand (UB) cigarette for 20 minutes ad libitum. After each product use, subjective reinforcing effects relevant to abuse liability and associated with switching away from cigarettes (e.g., satisfaction, product liking) were assessed.

All ENDS products were rated substantially and statistically significantly lower than UB cigarette on measures of subjective reinforcing effects (ps<0.001). Satisfying effects of JUUL2 1.5% were rated significantly higher than other ENDS products. JUUL2 Prototype 3.0% and Vuse Alto 5.0% did not significantly differ (ps>0.05), and both were rated significantly higher than JUUL 5.0% and NJOY Ace 5.0% (ps<0.05). Differences in subjective responses to study products did not significantly differ by preference for menthol cigarettes or by current ENDS use. Conclusions Abuse liability of all menthol-flavored ENDS in this study was substantially lower than combustible cigarettes. Abuse liability of JUUL2 1.5% was within the range of currently marketed pod-based menthol-flavored ENDS products. JUUL2 1.5% likely has high potential for facilitating switching among US adults who smoke.