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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Florida International: Faculty Find Flavored Tobacco Positively Impacts User Experience When Smoking Waterpipe

Researchers at Florida International University Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work examined the impact of flavor manipulation on satisfaction, puffing behavior and toxicant exposure among high-frequency and low-frequency waterpipe (WP) users.

“We wanted to better understand how flavored tobacco, which is extremely popular among young waterpipe smokers, was really affecting WP smokers at different stages of their use trajectory,” said Dr. Wasim Maziak, principal investigator on the project and chair of the epidemiology department at Stempel College.

This cross-over study was conducted among 144 current WP smokers, who reported WP smoking less than once a week or at least once a week in the past 6 months. Participants attended two counterbalanced 45 min smoking sessions that differed by flavor, offering either their preferred flavored tobacco or unflavored tobacco.  The researchers measured puff topography, expired carbon monoxide, plasma nicotine and subjective measures to understand if the smoker found the experience more or less satisfying, depending on the tobacco used.

Results of the study showed the both high-frequency and low-frequency WP users reported an enhanced smoking experience and greater interest in future use after smoking the flavored compared with unflavored tobacco. High-frequency users, however, were more keen on smoking the flavored tobacco in the future, had higher puffing parameters, in general compared with low-frequency users.

“Our results indicate that removing flavors will likely negatively affect WP satisfaction and future use and thus limiting WP flavors represents a promising regulatory strategy to curb WP use among young people in the U.S.” concluded Dr. Maziak.

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