Introduction: Cigarette addiction results from both pharmacological effects of nicotine and the rewarding effects of associated cues, including respiratory tract sensations.
Aims: This study sought to evaluate the initial acceptability of a non-nicotine botanical formulation that provided similar respiratory tract cues.
Methods: Two active test products and matching placebos were evaluated. One test product, an e-cigarette-like device, delivered a visible aerosol upon puffing; the other test product delivered an invisible vapour at ambient temperature. Test products delivered a botanical extract with flavourings and vehicle; the placebos delivered flavourings and vehicle only. Sixteen participants had 3-h ad libitum access to each test product and associated placebos, and were deprived of combustible cigarettes for 1 h before and throughout the 3-h evaluation period. Subjects rated the satisfaction (primary outcome) and other sensory qualities of the products. Safety evaluations included pulmonary function testing and monitoring vital signs.
Results: Satisfaction ratings (seven-point scale) were significantly greater for the active e-cigarette-like condition; M = 3.18, SD = 1.04 versus M = 2.69, SD = 1.22. Safety evaluations showed no clinically significant changes.
Conclusions: The results support the potential acceptability of a non-nicotine cigarette substitute in providing satisfaction to smokers. This approach merits further evaluation for safety and acceptability in tobacco harm reduction and cessation.