Effect of e-liquid flavor on electronic cigarette topography and consumption behavior in a 2-week natural environment switching study

PLoS One. 2018 May 2;13(5):e0196640. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196640. eCollection 2018.


Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) offer an alternate means to consume nicotine in a variety of flavored aerosols. Data are needed to better understand the impact of flavors on use behavior. A natural environment observational study was conducted on experienced ENDS users to measure the effect of e-liquid flavor on topography and consumption behavior. The RIT wPUMTM monitor was used to record to record the date and time and puff topography (flow rate, volume, duration) for every puff taken by N = 34 participants over the course of two weeks. All participants used tobacco flavor for one week, and either berry or menthol flavor for one week. Results provide strong evidence that flavor affects the topography behaviors of mean puff flow rate and mean puff volume, and there is insufficient evidence to support an influence of flavor on mean puff duration and mean puff interval. There was insufficient evidence, due to the low power associated with the limited number of observation days, to establish a relationship between flavor and cumulative consumption behavior. While the results indicate that an effect may be evident, additional observation days are required to establish significance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Female
  • Flavoring Agents*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Vaping / psychology
  • Vaping / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult


  • Flavoring Agents

Grants and funding

This work was supported by Rochester Institute of Technology Kate Gleason College of Engineering faculty research funds, and RTI International institutional research and development funds. The funder provided support in the form of salaries for authors [RJR ECH AAA YOL JMN], but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The specific roles of these authors are articulated in the ‘author contributions’ section.