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Communicating about Nicotine and Differential Risks of Tobacco Products

Principal Investigator(s): Lyudmila Popova and James Thrasher
Funding Mechanism: Intra-Departmental Delegation of Authority

ID number: 1R01CA239308-01A1

Award Date: September 16, 2019

Institution: Georgia State University

The goal of this project is to study a communication strategy that combines messages about reduced nicotine in combusted cigarettes with messages about relative risks of other tobacco products (i.e., potential “modified risk claims”). Study aims are: (1) to develop preliminary messages about reduced nicotine in combusted tobacco products; (2) to quantify the relative importance of different types of information in communications about reduced nicotine; and (3) to test the impact of messages about reduced nicotine in combusted tobacco products in the context of potential modified risk statements for novel tobacco products in a randomized clinical trial. To achieve Aim 1, researchers will conduct focus groups with 36 adult (aged 18+) current exclusive smokers, 36 adult dual users of cigarettes and ENDS, 36 adult former smokers, and 36 young adult non-smokers (aged 18-29). To achieve Aim 2, researchers will assess the relative effects of various message attributes (e.g., specific numbers for reduction, mention of addiction and health effects, source) on affect, perceived risk, and intentions to quit (for smokers) or to try reduced nicotine cigarettes (for non-smokers) in a discrete choice experiment; participants will be adult current exclusive smokers, adult dual users, adult former smokers, and young adult non-smokers (450 from each group). To achieve Aim 3, researchers will conduct a randomized clinical trial with 900 adult current exclusive smokers, 450 adult dual users, and 450 young adult non-smokers to compare effects of reduced nicotine and potential modified risk messages (executed as full-color ads) alone and in combination; outcomes will include risk perceptions, affect, behavioral intentions and recall and behavioral outcomes. Findings may inform regulatory activities related to communication strategies involving low nicotine tobacco products. 

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