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Assessing Risk Perceptions of Flavored Small Cigars/Cigarillos Among Young Adults

Principal Investigator: Kymberle Sterling

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health- Grant

ID number: 1R21CA180934-01

Award Date: 9/19/2013

Institution: Georgia State University

Research suggests that young adult smokers have positive attitudes, normative beliefs and self-efficacy towards flavored little cigars and cigarillos, perhaps due to perceptions that these products are less harmful than cigarettes; however, little is known about how young adult cigarette smokers form these risk perceptions. The goal of this project is to develop a prognostic tool that identifies little cigar/cigarillo risk perceptions and predicts initiation behaviors among young adult cigarette smokers aged 18-34. Specific aims are: (1) to use qualitative methods to elicit young adult cigarette smokers’ beliefs, feelings, and knowledge about flavored little cigars and cigarillos and their risks; (2) to develop a new little cigar/cigarillo risk perception scale; and (3) to determine what factors predict susceptibility/intention to smoke little cigars and cigarillos. To meet Aim 1, investigators will conduct 12 focus groups (with approximately 8-10 members/group) to elicit information about beliefs, feelings and knowledge about little cigars and cigarillos. To meet Aim 2, investigators will modify an existing tobacco risk perception scale based on focus group findings; they will convene a seven-member multidisciplinary expert review panel to ensure the scale’s face validity and then conduct cognitive testing among six ethnically diverse young adult little cigar/cigarillo smokers. To meet Aim 3, investigators will use the perception scale in an online survey of 900 young adult cigarette smokers and will use exploratory structural equation modeling to test the hypothesis that little cigar/cigarillo risk perceptions mediate the relationship between attitudes/norms/self-efficacy and susceptibility/intention.  This study will produce a prognostic tool that can be used to assess little cigar/cigarillo risk perceptions and can be modified to explore risk perceptions for other tobacco products (i.e., hookah); furthermore, research findings will help inform health communications that convey accurate risks about little cigar/cigarillo smoking in order to prevent initiation among young adults.

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