Bigger, Stronger and Cheaper: Growth in E-Cigarette Market Driven by Disposable Devices with More E-Liquid, Higher Nicotine Concentration and Declining Prices

Journal: Tobacco Control, 2023, doi: 10.1136/tc-2023-058033

Authors: Megan C. Diaz, Nathan A. Silver, Adrian Bertrand, & Barbara A. Schillo


Objective: Given the evolving changes in the disposable e-cigarette market, we explore patterns of sales in the USA by e-liquid volume capacity, nicotine strength and real sales-weighted average prices by both e-cigarette unit and volume of e-liquid.

Methodology: We used NielsenIQ retail scanner data from January 2017 to September 2022 to examine changes over time for average product volume capacity in millilitres, nicotine strength (%) and both sales-weighted average price per disposable unit and per millilitre of e-liquid for each 4-week period.

Results: Among disposable e-cigarettes sold between January 2017 and September 2022, average volume capacity increased 518% from 1.1 mL to 5.7 mL and average nicotine strength increased 294% from 1.7% to 5%. Sales-weighted average price per disposable unit and millilitres of e-liquid both remained relatively constant until January 2020. From January 2020 through September 2022, average unit prices increased 165.7% from US$8.49 to US$14.07, while the average price of 1 mL of e-liquid decreased 69.2% from US$7.96 to US$2.45.

Conclusions: The current regulatory regime around e-cigarettes has resulted in disposable e-cigarette manufacturers providing consumers with bigger, cheaper disposable e-cigarettes that come in increasingly higher nicotine strengths. Tobacco policy recommendations such as restricting e-liquid capacity and minimum price laws as well as regulations on product characteristics that affect nicotine emissions and delivery such as nicotine strength, nicotine output, device power, and puff duration should be considered in regulating the e-cigarette market.

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Identifying Adolescents’ Gaming Preferences for a Tobacco Prevention Social Game: A Qualitative Study

Journal: PLoS ONE, 2023,

Authors: Georges Elias Khalil, Jeanie Kim, David McLean, Erica Ramirez, Bairu Zhao, & Ramzi G. Salloum


Introduction: Considering the dangers of adolescent tobacco use, the successful design of behavioral programs is crucial for tobacco prevention. According to preliminary research, social game interventions can improve adolescent tobacco outcomes. The current qualitative study aims to (1) uncover the gaming elements that adolescents deem important for a positive learning experience, and (2) confirm these gaming elements with adolescents who are presented with a tobacco prevention game concept that applies these elements.

Methods: Findings from this study are drawn from two phases. Phase 1 involved in-person focus group discussions (n = 15) and Phase 2 included three online focus groups and a paired interview with another set of adolescents (n = 15). The study was conducted under a project that aimed to design and test a social game-based tobacco prevention program for adolescents (Storm-Heroes). With open coding and thematic analysis, two research team members identified repeated topics and relevant quotes to organize them into themes. The themes evolved as new content was identified during the process. This process was repeated until thematic saturation was reached.

Results: Thematic analysis across Phase 1 and Phase 2 revealed four major themes: 1) Balance during gaming challenges, 2) Healthy social interaction, 3) Performance and creative freedom, and 4) Fictional world and game mechanics for tobacco prevention.

Conclusion: This study identified specific intervention features that best fit the needs of adolescents in the context of a social game for tobacco prevention. For future research, we will use a participatory approach to allow adolescents to take part in the design process, improve Storm-Heroes, and develop health promotional messages that can be incorporated into the program. Ultimately, a board game for tobacco prevention is expected to bring adolescents together to create lasting memories that nudge them away from tobacco use and the harm it can cause.

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Results of a National Survey of Substance Use Treatment Services for Youth under Community Supervision

Journal: Health Justice, 2023, doi: 10.1186/s40352-023-00233-w

Authors: Danica K. Knight, Rod R. Funk, Steven Belenko, Michael Dennis, Aaron Hogue, John P. Bartkowski, Richard Dembo, … Christy K. Scott


Background: Despite the heightened risk for substance use (SU) among youth in the juvenile justice system, many do not receive the treatment that they need.

Objectives: The purpose of this study is to examine the extent to which youth under community supervision by juvenile justice agencies receive community-based SU services and the factors associated with access to such services.

Methods: Data are from a nationally representative sample of Community Supervision (CS) agencies and their primary behavioral health (BH) partners. Surveys were completed by 192 CS and 271 BH agencies.

Results: SU services are more often available through BH than CS for all treatment modalities. EBPs are more likely to be used by BH than by CS. Co-location of services occurs most often in communities with fewer treatment options and is associated with higher interagency collaboration. Youth are more likely to receive services in communities with higher EBP use, which mediates the relationship between the availability of SU treatment modalities and the proportion of youth served.

Conclusion: Findings identify opportunities to strengthen community systems and improve linkage to care.

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Association of Pregnancy-Specific Alcohol Policies with Infant Morbidities and Maltreatment

Journal: JAMA Network Open, 2023, doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.27138

Authors: Sarah C. M. Roberts, Alex Schulte, Claudia Zaugg, Douglas L. Leslie, Tammy E. Corr, & Guodong Liu


Importance: Research has found associations of pregnancy-specific alcohol policies with increased low birth weight and preterm birth, but associations with other infant outcomes are unknown.

Objective: To examine the associations of pregnancy-specific alcohol policies with infant morbidities and maltreatment.

Design, setting, and participants: This retrospective cohort study used outcome data from Merative MarketScan, a national database of private insurance claims. The study cohort included individuals aged 25 to 50 years who gave birth to a singleton between 2006 and 2019 in the US, had been enrolled 1 year before and 1 year after delivery, and could be matched with an infant. Data were analyzed from August 2021 to April 2023.

Exposures: Nine state-level pregnancy-specific alcohol policies obtained from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s Alcohol Policy Information System.

Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcomes were 1 or more infant injuries associated with maltreatment and infant morbidities associated with maternal alcohol consumption within the first year. Logistic regression, adjusting for individual-level and state-level controls, and fixed effects for state, year, state-specific time trends, and SEs clustered by state were used.

Results: A total of 1 432 979 birthing person-infant pairs were included (mean [SD] age of birthing people, 32.2 [4.2] years); 30 157 infants (2.1%) had injuries associated with maltreatment, and 44 461 (3.1%) infants had morbidities associated with alcohol use during pregnancy. The policies of Reporting Requirements for Assessment/Treatment (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.28; 95% CI, 1.08-1.52) and Mandatory Warning Signs (aOR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.10-1.27) were associated with increased odds of infant injuries but not morbidities. Priority Treatment for Pregnant Women Only was associated with decreased odds of infant injuries (aOR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.76-0.90) but not infant morbidities. Civil Commitment was associated with increased odds of infant injuries (aOR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.08-1.48) but decreased odds of infant morbidities (aOR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.53-0.62). Priority Treatment for Pregnant Women and Women with Children was associated with increased odds of both infant injuries (aOR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.00-1.25) and infant morbidities (aOR, 1.08; 95% CI, 1.03-1.13). Reporting Requirements for Child Protective Services, Reporting Requirements for Data, Child Abuse/Neglect, and Limits on Criminal Prosecution were not associated with infant injuries or morbidities.

Conclusions and relevance: In this cohort study, most pregnancy-specific alcohol policies were not associated with decreased odds of infant injuries or morbidities. Policy makers should not assume that pregnancy-specific alcohol policies improve infant health.

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A Mobile Addiction Service for Community-Based Overdose Prevention

Journal: Frontiers in Public Health, 2023, doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2023.1154813

Authors: Michael D. Pepin, Jillian K. Joseph, Brittany P. Chapman, Christina McAuliffe, Logan K. O’Donnell, Ryan L. Marano, Stephanie P. Carreiro, … Kavita M. Babu


Mainstays of opioid overdose prevention include medications for opioid use disorder (e.g., methadone or buprenorphine) and naloxone distribution. Inadequate access to buprenorphine limits its uptake, especially in communities of color, and people with opioid use disorders encounter multiple barriers to obtaining necessary medications including insurance, transportation, and consistent availability of telephones. UMass Memorial Medical Center and our community partners sought to alleviate these barriers to treatment through the deployment of a mobile addiction service, called the Road to Care. Using this approach, multidisciplinary and interprofessional providers deliver holistic addiction care by centering our patients’ needs with respect to scheduling, location, and convenience. This program also extends access to buprenorphine and naloxone among people experiencing homelessness. Additional systemic and individualized barriers encountered are identified, as well as potential solutions for future mobile addiction service utilization. Over a two-year period, we have cared for 1,121 individuals who have accessed our mobile addiction service in over 4,567 encounters. We prescribed buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone®) to 330 individuals (29.4% of all patients). We have distributed nearly 250 naloxone kits directly on-site or and more than 300 kits via prescriptions to local pharmacies. To date, 74 naloxone rescue attempts have been reported back to us. We have demonstrated that a community-based mobile addiction service, anchored within a major medical center, can provide high-volume and high-quality overdose prevention services that facilitate engagement with additional treatment.

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