BrainAppeal study

On behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, Wageningen University and the RIVM are conducting research on the attractivity of e-cigarettes flavors in different target groups. By looking at brain processes, we can gain more insight into the role that different flavors play in the use of e-cigarettes. Because much is already known about the role of flavors in eating behavior, we want to investigate whether this is similar to the role of flavors in the use of e-cigarettes. Ultimately, feedback will be given to the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport on whether and how this knowledge could be incorporated into tobacco control policy.

In this study, we conduct fMRI research on the attractivity of different odors. These odors are representative of food products that you can eat or liquids from electronic cigarettes that you can vaporize. This research is performed because it is unknown whether the role of odors in eating and e-cigarette smoking is similar.

The study will take place from February 2022 to (and including) June 2022 and consists of one test session in the MRI scanner at the hospital Ziekenhuis Gelderse Vallei in Ede, preceded by an information meeting and one short training session at Wageningen University. The exact dates and times of the study will be determined in consultation with the participant.

What is in it for you?

  • A financial compensation of 50 € for participation in the entire study
  • A compensation of 5 € in the form of a VVV gift voucher if, during the screening, it becomes apparent that you are not eligible to participate in the study
  • You contribute to an important social theme: a 'smoke-free generation’

For this study we are looking for 25 light smokers and 25 non-smokers (both men and women) who want to participate.

You are eligible to participate in this study if you

  • Are right-handed
  • Are a light cigarette smoker or a non-smoker
  • As a light smoker, you have smoked more than 100 tobacco cigarettes or shags in your lifetime, and you smoke more often than once a month, smoke less than 10 cigarettes or shags a day on average, and do not smoke only on weekends. This does not include smoking cigars, pipe or marijuana.
  • As a nonsmoker, you have smoked less than 100 cigarettes and shags in your entire life. You also do not smoke cigars, pipe or marijuana.
    • Please note: Because we are not interested in ex-smokers as a target group, unfortunately, you cannot participate if you smoked more than 100 cigarettes in your lifetime, but quit smoking.
  • Are not generally opposed to e-cigarettes (previous use is allowed, but not required)
  • Are between 18 and 55 years of age on the day of the information meeting
  • Are in good general health and have a healthy BMI
  • Have a good command of the English language
  • Have a normal sense of smell (this will be tested during the screening)
  • Do not wear braces that are not removable (with the exception of a wire behind your teeth)
  • Do not wear glasses with a visual acuity of more than +6 or -6 (lenses of any acuity are no problem)
  • Are not claustrophobic
  • Are not allergic or hypersensitive to yogurt
  • Are not vegetarian or vegan
  • Do not have any non-removable metal in your body, such as a piercing, pacemaker, artificial heart valve, or metal implants/prosthetics (with exceptions)
  • Are not pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Have no history of drug or alcohol addiction
  • Do not have a psychiatric, neurological or chronic medical condition or an eating disorder
  • Have not taken any prescribed or non-prescribed medication in the month prior to the testing session, other than occasional pain relievers (such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, and other NSAIDs) and/or oral contraception
  • Are not an employee of the Department of Human Nutrition and Health at Wageningen University and not a thesis student or intern at the Sensory Science and Eating Behavior chair group at Wageningen University
  • Are not simultaneously participating in another medical scientific study (with the exceptions)
  • Agree not to use drugs (other than tobacco and alcohol) in the week before the test session
  • Are willing to comply with the study instructions
  • Agree that we will inform your general practitioner in the event of unexpected findings that may require medical treatment

What does participating entail?

Prior to the study, to determine if you are eligible to participate, you will

  • come to the university once for an information meeting, where you will be given information about the study, you will fill out a consent form and some questionnaires. This is the first part of the screening (in case you decide to participate in the study immediately). This visit takes about 30 minutes.
  • come to the university once for the second part of the screening. This visit of about 30 minutes consists of a short smell test and a training session in a dummy MRI scanner.

When participating in the study

  • You will come to Hospital Gelderse Vallei once for a test session (with a duration of approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes), during which you:
    • have to lie still for a longer period of time in an MRI scanner
    • get odors presented to your nose through a tube
    • answer questions about the attractiveness of these odors

More information and signing-up

Are you interested in participating in the BrainAppeal study and do want to know more about it? Then read the information brochure for a detailed description of the study.

Would you like to apply or do you have any questions? Please contact the research team. When applying, please mention the group you are applying for (smokers or non-smokers).

Ina Hellmich & Joris van der Hart

Reactions preferably by e-mail, but please mention your phone number so we can call you back.

Disclaimer: Wageningen University wants to discourage the use of tobacco products, to which this study contributes