The feasibility, acceptability, and initial efficacy of a remotely delivered, financial-incentive intervention to initiate vaping abstinence in young adults

Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2022 Oct;30(5):632-641. doi: 10.1037/pha0000468. Epub 2021 Apr 22.


Electronic cigarette use (i.e., vaping) has become increasingly popular, especially among youth. Although vaping nicotine is thought to be safer than smoking combustible cigarettes, vaping cessation has become a topic of interest because of health concerns and the potential risk of electronic cigarette use leading to the use of other substances. The current study is the first to explore the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of a remotely delivered intervention using financial incentives to reinforce vaping abstinence among young adults. A secondary purpose of the study was to compare two cotinine measures, NicAlert and Alere iScreen, for remotely monitoring vaping abstinence. Using a single-case design, college students (N = 8) were given NicAlert and iScreen saliva cotinine tests to verify vaping abstinence. During a baseline condition, financial incentives were delivered contingent on submitting cotinine samples during live telemedicine calls (across varying baseline durations, consistent with multiple-baseline designs), whereas during an abstinence condition, escalating financial bonuses were delivered contingent on negative cotinine samples only. All participants attended 100% of their scheduled telemedicine calls and all participants quit vaping nicotine during the 2-week intervention, following the introduction of abstinence-contingent bonuses. Participants also rated the intervention favorably on a number of dimensions. Participants liked the iScreen cotinine tests, and found them easier to use, than NicAlert. Future research should focus on exploring strategies for promoting long-term sustainability of incentive-based interventions for vaping abstinence. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cotinine
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Nicotine
  • Smoking Cessation* / methods
  • Vaping*
  • Young Adult


  • Nicotine
  • Cotinine