The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act banned the sale of tobacco cigarettes with added artificial and natural flavors. However, this ban does not extend to chewable or dissolvable tobacco products or to electronic cigarettes. Of particular concern with these emerging products is that certain flavors, sweeteners in particular, are thought to lower the threshold for adolescent tobacco use initiation and reinforcement. It is known that these emerging products contain sweeteners and other flavor additives in addition to ground tobacco and nicotine. However, the specific composition and quantity of these components are not well characterized making it difficult to replicate the impact of actual product formulations on behavior.
The results of this project will guide the design and implementation of in vivo tests in mice and rats examining the effects of flavors on nicotine consumption and central reward pathways, with the overall goal of ascertaining the role of these additives in initiating and reinforcing tobacco product use, particularly relevant to susceptible users such as adolescents.