Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Melissa Blank

Committee Co-Chair

Steven Kinsey

Committee Member

Nicholas Turiano


To evaluate properly the potential benefits and harms of electronic cigarettes (ECIGs), it is important to evaluate how individuals puff from an electronic cigarette, or their puff topography. This measure, which includes indices of puff number, duration, volume, interpuff interval, and flow rate, can be used to predict exposure to toxicants including nicotine. Puff topography has been studied extensively for cigarette smokers, but not ECIG users. The studies that have involved electronic cigarette topography measurement have done so using devices that have not been thoroughly validated or proven reliable. Thus, the purpose of this study was to evaluate methods of measuring electronic cigarette puff topography. Twelve participants (seven ECIG-experienced users, five ECIG-naive cigarette smokers) completed three Latin-square ordered sessions that differed by topography measurement method: eTop 2.0, eTop, or natural observation via video recording. Following ≥ 12 hours of nicotine/tobacco abstinence, participants engaged in three bouts of ECIG puffing: one 10-puff directed bout and two ad lib bouts. Additionally, subjective ratings of nicotine/tobacco withdrawal and product effects were evaluated before and after each ECIG bout. Puff topography did not differ between measurement methods or between groups (p's > 0.05). Measurement of smoking topography differed little between the mouthpiece-based device and direct observation methods. Puff duration, number, and IPI were correlated highly across measurement methods (all r's > 0.68). All methods were also reliable, as demonstrated by high correlations across cigarette bouts within each condition (most r's > 0.78). Ratings of withdrawal and product effects changed from baseline to post-directed bout and post-ad lib bout, potentially suggesting nicotine delivery from the electronic cigarette. Due to the low sample size, definitive conclusions cannot be determined from this study. Further research should continue to evaluate these measurements with a sample size appropriately powered to detect differences between measurement methods and groups.