Current CSTP Studies
The Center for the Study of Tobacco Products includes a variety of ongoing studies (see below).
If you are interested in participating in any of the below studies, please complete this screening survey.
For People who Use Cigarettes and/or E-cigarettes/Vapes
Purpose: The purpose of the study is to understand how varying the flavors (“Tobacco,” “Menthol,” and “Unflavored”) available for an electronic cigarette or (e-cigarette) product impacts measures of tobacco use behavior, biological measures of cigarette and e-cigarette exposure, and the likelihood someone might use/abuse these products. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine but likely have fewer toxic chemicals compared to cigarettes. For smokers, e-cigarettes could be a less harmful alternative if used as a complete substitute for all cigarettes and other smoked tobacco products. E-cigarettes are not currently approved by the FDA as a quit smoking aid. This study focuses on Black/African American menthol cigarette smokers because this group of individuals has historically been unfairly targeted by the tobacco industry and harmed by tobacco products. In addition, limited research has been conducted with African Americans to identify possible policies to reduce these harms. The results of this study will help us to better understand the effects of e-cigarette product flavors and their potential to reduce harm among African American menthol smokers.
Study Details: This study involves attending visits in-person on the VCU medical campus and completing study-related online surveys and phone calls, responding to daily text message/online surveys, and providing urine samples. If you meet the eligibility criteria to participate, we will ask you to complete a baseline smoking week (Week 0). Then you will be randomized to an e-cigarette product flavor condition which could involve tobacco flavored, menthol flavored and/or an unflavored e-cigarette product. You will receive your study e-cigarette product for 6 weeks. During this time, you will be asked to use the study e-cigarette product to replace some or all of your own brand menthol cigarettes and to avoid using any other nicotine/tobacco products. About 1 month after the 6-week period ends, we will ask you to complete an additional online survey about your tobacco use and how you feel.
Confidentiality: VCU and the VCU Health System have established secure research databases and computer systems to store information and to help with monitoring and oversight of research. Your information may be kept in these databases but are only accessible to individuals working on this study or authorized individuals who have access for specific research related tasks.
Payment: You will be paid $40 for completing the in-person screening to determine your eligibility to participate ($20 for survey and other measures + $20 for breath and urine samples). Completion of daily surveys are $1 a day with a $10 bonus for completing 7 days/surveys in a row for a total possible compensation of $119 (over 7 weeks). If you are eligible and choose to participate, you will be asked complete a remote visit on weeks 1, 2, 4, and 5 ($20 for survey and other measures at each visit). For the in-person visits, you will be paid $40 for survey and other measures + $20 for breath and urine samples ($60 in total at each visit). During week 2 and 5 you will be paid an additional $20 per visit for completing the interview. You will also be paid $30 at the in-person week 3 and week 6 visits for returning your used e-cigarette pods in the containers we will provide to you. For the online follow-up survey you will be paid $20. You can receive a $75 bonus for completing all study visits from the baseline week through week 6. Parking/travel compensation is $10 per in-person visit.
If you complete all phone calls and comply with answering daily surveys and in-person visits you can receive up to $654 (varies based on the number of daily surveys completed, whether you bring back your used study products, and whether you complete all study activities).
Purpose: The purpose of this research study is to find out about how ethanol (alcohol)-containing e-cigarettes impact ethanol breath tests, field sobriety tests, and other tests of sobriety. Ethanol is a common part of e-cigarette liquids.
1. The study consists of an in-person screening visit, and then if you are eligible to participate based on the screening visit we ask you to come back for 4 sessions that are 6 hours long each.
2. At the in-person screening visit, we will ask you to provide a urine sample that we will test for drugs and for pregnancy. We will ask you to take a breath test for levels of alcohol in your body.
3. In each session you will receive a beverage that contains either no alcohol or some alcohol. During the session we will ask you to drink this beverage within twenty minutes. How much alcohol you receive is based on weight, so for a 150 lb person, the amount will be similar to 3-4 alcohol-containing beverages.
4. In each session, you will also receive an e-cigarette with e-liquid that contains either no ethanol or some ethanol (neither will contain any nicotine). We will ask you to use the electronic cigarette for 10 puffs at two separate timepoints.
5. Also in each session, a nurse will insert an IV catheter into your arm that will stay there for the entire session. This catheter will be used to draw blood periodically (less than 1 tablespoon per sample, 6 samples per session).
6. During each session, we will monitor the alcohol levels in your body several times with simple tests in which we will ask you to blow through a tube. These alcohol breath tests will be conducted by a plain-clothed VCU campus police officer.
The officer will also administer a standard field sobriety test. This will involve 1) the officer looking at your eyes using a device that records your eye movements, 2) the officer asking you to walk in a straight line 3) the officer asking you to stand on one leg.
7. In each session we will ask for a sample of oral fluid—this involves placing a swab in your mouth for several minutes.
8. Before each of the 6-hour sessions, we will ask you to abstain from food for at least 2 hours and alcohol for at least 24 hours.
9. Transportation: for each 6-hour study session, you must either get a ride to and from the laboratory from a friend/family member, or we can arrange for an Uber ride for you. If we arrange an Uber ride for you, we can only pick you up from your home address and drop you off at your home address. Your home address must be within 20 miles of the laboratory.
WILL I BE PAID TO PARTICIPATE IN THE STUDY?
You will receive $15 after completing the screening visit (this visit). $100 after completing the first session, $125 after completing the second session, $175 after the third session and $200 after completing the fourth session. Thus, the total amount you could earn for the entire study is $615. You may also be reimbursed for parking costs associated with screening and session visit. All payments will be in the form of cash.
Purpose: The purpose of this research study is to find out how different types of electronic cigarette/vape e-liquids with differing sweetness and forms of nicotine affect blood nicotine levels, use behavior (how you puff), and how you feel.
Study Details: In this study, you will be asked to do the following things:
1. After an initial screening visit, visit the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products 4 more times for approximately 3-hour study visits.
2. Before each visit, abstain from all tobacco products (cigarettes, e-cigarettes/vapes, cigars, and hookah/waterpipe) for at least 12 hours.
3. We will take blood pressure readings (with blood pressure cuff on your arm) and monitor your heart rate (with a device that attaches to your finger). A nurse will insert an IV catheter into your arm that will stay there for the entire session. This catheter will be used to draw blood periodically (less than 1 tablespoon per sample, 5 samples per visit).
4. During each session, we will ask you to respond to several questionnaires to measure how you feel before and after you use an e-cigarette.
5. In each session, you will receive an e-cigarette loaded with e-liquid that contains nicotine. During the session we will ask you to use the electronic cigarette we provide at two separate times. After you have used the e-cigarette two times, we will offer you the opportunity to use your own e-cigarette or cigarette.
Confidentiality: How will information about me be protected? VCU has established secure research databases and computer systems to store information and to help with monitoring and oversight of research. Your information may be kept in these databases but are only accessible to individuals working on this study or authorized individuals who have access for specific research related tasks.
Payment: You will be paid $15 for completing the initial screening visit. You will be paid for the time that you are not using tobacco prior to session and for your time in the laboratory: you will receive $75 after the first session, $100 after the second, $150 after the third, and $200 after the fourth session. In all, you can earn $540 for completing this study. All in-person visits (screening and sessions) will be paid in cash.
Purpose: The purpose of the study is to understand how varying flavors and nicotine levels in electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) influences the likelihood that someone might use/abuse these products and how you feel after using them. The results of this study will help us to better understand these factors.
Study Details: If eligible, following the in-person screening session, we will ask you to complete four sessions that differ by the tobacco products that you use. In session 1 you will use your own brand cigarette (which we will provide or ask you to provide from your own cigarette pack). In sessions 2-4 you will use e-cigarette products that we provide during each session (2 product flavors per session). All in-lab appointments will take place at the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products located on VCU’s campus. In each session you will have an opportunity to complete a behavioral task focused on either an e-cigarette or your own brand cigarette. The task will ask you to estimate how many times you would like to use puffs of the session product or the session product and your own brand cigarettes.
Confidentiality: VCU has established secure research databases and computer systems to store information and to help with monitoring and oversight of research. Your information may be kept in these databases but are only accessible to individuals working on this study or authorized individuals who have access for specific research related tasks. We will not tell anyone the answers you give us; however, information from the study and the consent form signed by you may be looked at or copied for research or legal purposes by the sponsor of the research, or by Virginia Commonwealth University.
Payment: You will be paid $15/hour for completing the initial screening visit. You will receive $50 for the first session (plus an additional $5 if you provide one own brand cigarette for use), $75 for the second, $100 for the third, and $125 for the fourth session. Additionally, for the in-person screen and/or study sessions you will be reimbursed $12 for travel/parking expenses. In total, you can potentially earn up to $438 for completing this study. All in-person visits (screening and sessions) will be paid in cash.
In addition, if you are eligible for the study, we will give you 5 cards, you can give these cards to friends or family members who might want to participate in any of our ongoing laboratory studies that involve in-person screening visits. If someone you give a card to completes the initial screening survey via https://cstp.vcu.edu/studies/ and attends an in-person screening visit with the card, we will send you an additional $20 per returned card, paid via an Amazon gift card (email).