Behavioral economic assessment of abuse liability for Black & Mild cigar flavors among young adults

Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2022 Feb;30(1):113-119. doi: 10.1037/pha0000400. Epub 2020 Oct 1.


Cigars are available in a variety of flavors that may impact uptake and use, but little is known about how different flavors affect abuse liability. This study used 3 behavioral economic tasks to examine abuse liability of Black & Mild cigars differing in flavor among young adult cigarette smokers. Participants were 25 cigar-naïve young adults (aged 18-25 years) who smoked ≥ 5 cigarettes/day. In 5 Latin square-ordered laboratory visits, participants completed 3 abuse liability tasks (drug purchase task, cross-price purchase task, and multiple-choice procedure) for each of 4 cigar flavors (original, cream, wine, or apple) and own-brand cigarettes. In the drug purchase task, relative to own-brand cigarettes, all cigar flavors were associated with lower abuse liability using most measures (intensity, breakpoint, maximum total tobacco expenditure for 1 day [ps < .05]), although only wine-flavored cigars scored significantly lower using 1 measure (price at maximum total tobacco expenditure for 1 day). When cigars and cigarettes were available concurrently in the cross-price purchase task, all cigar flavors functioned as substitutes for cigarettes. Using the multiple-choice procedure, crossover points for wine- (mean = $0.61) and apple-flavored cigars (mean = $0.71) were significantly lower than own-brand cigarettes (mean = $0.86) and original-flavored cigars (mean = $1.00); no significant differences existed between own-brand cigarettes and original-flavored cigars. Thus, whereas abuse liability may be highest for participants' own-brand cigarette, young adult smokers may be willing to use flavored cigars. Furthermore, abuse liability varies by cigar flavor, with original- and cream-flavored cigars appearing to have the highest abuse liability. Characterizing flavors and flavor additives in cigars represent an important tobacco regulatory target. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Economics, Behavioral
  • Flavoring Agents*
  • Humans
  • Smokers
  • Taste
  • Tobacco Products*
  • Young Adult


  • Flavoring Agents