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Objective: Although electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are frequently initiated for smoking cessation, results from the first two clinical trials testing this suggest that the perceived benefits of vaping may be influenced by non-nicotine factors, including cognitive outcome expectancies. The current study investigated the separate and combined effects of nicotine delivery and outcome expectancies on cravings for cigarettes and e-cigarettes using a balanced-placebo experiment. Method: Drug dosage (contains nicotine or not) was crossed with instructional set (told nicotine or non-nicotine) during ad lib e-cigarette use sessions by 128 current e-cigarette users (52 identifying as current cigarette smokers or “dual users”). It was hypothesized that reduction in craving for both cigarettes and e-cigarettes following e-cigarette administration would be driven primarily by the instructional set manipulation, reflecting the influence of outcome expectancies. Results: As hypothesized, among dual users, a main effect of instructional set emerged on reductions in craving to smoke cigarettes, with participants who were told that their e-cigarette contained nicotine reporting greater craving reduction (p = .046). With respect to reduced cravings for e-cigarettes, we found an interaction between drug dose and instructional set (p = .02) such that nicotine e-cigarettes reduced cravings more than non-nicotine e-cigarettes only among participants told to expect nicotine. Conclusions: Findings suggest that cognitive expectancies contribute to the acute effects of e-cigarettes on craving, which may provide guidance for their potential as smoking cessation aids.

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Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, v. 86, issue 5, p. 486-491

© 2018, American Psychological Association. This manuscript is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the final, authoritative version of the article. Please do not copy or cite without authors’ permission. The final version of record is available via its DOI:

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