Preliminary Validity of the Modified Cigarette Evaluation Questionnaire in Predicting the Reinforcing Effects of Cigarettes That Vary in Nicotine Content

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Validity studies evaluating self-report measures in relation to behavioral preference of cigarettes varying in nicotine content are needed. The current study examined the relationship between ratings on the modified Cigarette Evaluation Questionnaire (mCEQ) and the relative reinforcing effects of Spectrum research cigarettes (15.8, 5.2, 2.4, 0.4 mg per gram of tobacco). Data for this secondary analysis were obtained from a double-blind study (Higgins et al., 2017) evaluating the subjective and reinforcing effects of Spectrum cigarettes under acute smoking abstinence. Current smokers (N = 26) were recruited from three vulnerable smoking populations (economically disadvantaged women of reproductive age, opioid-maintained individuals, individuals with affective disorders). In Phase 1 (five sessions), the mCEQ (Satisfaction, Psychological Reward, Enjoyment of Respiratory Tract Sensations, Craving Reduction, Aversion subscales) was administered following ad lib smoking of Spectrum cigarettes and subscale differences scores were calculated by subtracting ratings of the 15.8 mg/g cigarette from ratings of the reduced nicotine content cigarettes. In Phase 2 (six sessions), participants completed six 2-dose concurrent choice tests. The relationship between mCEQ subscale difference scores from Phase 1 and nicotine dose choice from Phase 2 was examined using mixed-model repeated-measures analyses of variance. Higher Satisfaction and lower Aversion subscale difference scores were associated with choosing the 15.8 mg/g cigarette more than the 5.2, 2.4, and 0.4 mg/g cigarettes. Scores on the other mCEQ subscales were not associated with nicotine choice. These results provide support for validity of the mCEQ Satisfaction and Aversion subscales predicting the relative reinforcing effects and abuse liability of varying nicotine content cigarettes.

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