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  1. Advancing Regulatory Science

How consumers use flavors to make inferences about Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS) product qualities and intentions to use? (Phases I and II)

CERSI Collaborators: Meghan Moran, PhD; Ryan David Kennedy, PhD; Lauren Czaplicki, PhD

FDA Collaborators: Izabella Zandberg, PhD; Sarah Trigger, MPH; Martha Engstrom, MS; Michael Sawdey, PhD; Lexie Perreras, MPH

CERSI Subcontractors: Health Watcher Inc., John W. Ayers, PhD, MA; Barnard College-Adam Poliak, PhD.

Project Start Date: June 2018

Regulatory Science Challenge

Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), also called electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and vaporizers, have been regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration since 2016. Flavors are an important aspect of ENDS. ENDS use a liquid (“e-liquid” or “e-juice”) that is available in a diverse range of flavors, including tobacco flavor, menthol, mint, fruit flavors, dessert flavors (e.g., crème brulee, funnel cake), spices (e.g., cinnamon, vanilla), alcohol (e.g., strawberry daiquiri, bourbon, Irish crème), candy (e.g., gummi bears, cotton candy), and other flavors. Both youth and adult ENDS users commonly report that flavors are a main reason why they use ENDS. Flavors are a regulatory area of interest, and in 2018 FDA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) “to obtain information related to the role that flavors play in tobacco products,” with a specific interest in how flavors can lead to youth product initiation. This CERSI project will expand the study team’s ongoing work to examine how the ENDS advertising tactics used to convey flavors affect consumer’s perceptions about the product and their intentions to use these products.

Project Description and Goals

This project examines how different features used to advertise ENDS flavors are associated with (a) product appeal and (b) intentions to use the product among adolescents (aged 13-17 years) and young adults (aged 18-24 years). These aims will be accomplished by obtaining product perceptions and use intentions in response to different advertising tactics, such as using flavor-related images or adding flavor descriptors or modifiers to flavor names. In an online survey experiment, adolescent and young adult study participants will view different ENDS ads with and without key features (flavor-related images; flavor descriptors, such as “cool” and “fresh”; flavor name modifiers, such as cherry crush). This project will provide evidence about how specific advertising features used to convey ENDS flavors affect consumer perceptions of the product and their intentions to use ENDS.


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