Single- and cross-commodity delay discounting of money and e-cigarette liquid in experienced e-cigarette users

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2020 Jan 1;206:107740. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.107740. Epub 2019 Nov 15.


Background: Delay discounting (DD) research has improved our understanding of important behavioral processes associated with tobacco use. Little research has explored DD among e-cigarette users, and these studies have exclusively examined money as the only available commodity. This secondary analysis of a laboratory study explored discounting for money and e-liquid among e-cigarette users using two single-commodity discounting (SCD) tasks and one cross-commodity discounting (CCD) task. A secondary goal was to explore the extent to which results from the SCD and CCD tasks were correlated to each other and with measures of e-cigarette use.

Methods: E-cigarette users (N = 27) completed two SCD tasks and one CCD task. The SCD tasks assessed choices between various amounts of either money now versus money later (M-M) or e-liquid now versus e-liquid later (mL-mL). The CCD task assessed choices between e-liquid now versus money later (mL-M). Discounting results were compared using logk and AUClog.

Results: Discounting was greatest in the mL-mL task, followed by the M-M task, and then the mL-M task. AUClog and logk were significantly correlated across all discounting tasks. Attempts to quit vaping was positively associated with logk and negatively associated with AUClog and in both SCD tasks.

Conclusions: E-cigarette users discount e-liquid more than money in a SCD task. However, when the two commodities, money and e-liquid (CCD), are compared the substance of abuse is discounted to a lesser extent. Interventions that provide alternative reinforcers to compete with the reinforcing effects of nicotine intake may be especially indicated for treating e-cigarette dependence.

Keywords: Cross-commodity discounting; Delay discounting; E-cigarettes; Impulsivity; Single-commodity discounting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Delay Discounting*
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / economics*
  • Female
  • Flavoring Agents / economics*
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior
  • Male
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Reward*
  • Vaping / economics*
  • Vaping / psychology*


  • Flavoring Agents