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Are E-cigarettes Marketed to Encourage Consumers to Think that E-cigarettes are Safer Alternatives to Cigarettes?

Principal Investigator: Jerris Hedges and Pallav Pokhrel

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health - Grant

ID Number: 3 P30 CA071789-13S1

Award Date: 7/1/2013

Institution: University of Hawaii at Manoa


E-cigarettes are growing in popularity, particularly among younger smokers who may perceive e-cigarettes to be safer than cigarettes. The goal of this supplemental study is to evaluate whether e-cigarettes are marketed to encourage consumer perceptions that e-cigarettes are safer alternatives to cigarettes. Specific aims are: (1) to conduct 12 focus groups with 72 young adult (aged 18-35) current daily cigarette smokers in order to assess smokers' perceptions of real e-cigarette ads and develop measures, including explicit and implicit attitude measures, that will be used to pursue the second aim; and (2) to conduct a laboratory-based experimental study with 400 young adult cigarette smokers. In the experimental study, half the participants will be randomly assigned to the experimental condition and exposed to real e-cigarette ads; the other half will be exposed to control images. Post exposure, all participants will be assessed on explicit and implicit measures of attitudes toward e-cigarettes as safer alternatives to cigarettes, and on measures of susceptibility to future e-cigarette use. Study findings may inform regulatory activities related to e-cigarettes. (Project completed in 2014.)