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Communicating Harm of New Tobacco Products

Principal Investigator: Lyudmila Popova

Funding Mechanism:  National Institutes of Health- Grant

ID Number: 1K99CA187460-01

Award Date:  9/12/2014

Institution:  University of California-San Francisco 

Despite significant gains achieved by public education campaigns, many people still underestimate the risks of tobacco use. The situation is compounded by aggressive marketing of new and alternative tobacco products, such as snus, dissolvables, and electronic cigarettes. The goal of this project is to determine effective ways to communicate the harm of tobacco products. Specific aims are: (1) to identify the key features (e.g., naming specific diseases, depicting affected body parts, listing harmful chemicals) of anti-tobacco messages with high informational and emotional ratings; (2) to compare the effects of “information only” and “information + emotion” messages on harm perceptions, use intentions, and attitudes toward tobacco control regulation; and (3) to determine how communication about cigarettes vs. new and alternative tobacco products impacts message processing and responses to anti-tobacco messages among different subpopulations (i.e., current smokers, former smokers, and non-smokers). To accomplish these aims, a total of 7,050 adult (aged 18 and older) current, former, and non-smokers will participate in five studies. Participants will be shown text- and image-based messages conveying the harms of established and new tobacco products and then complete a self-administered online survey evaluating emotion, informativeness, message efficacy, processing time, and other variables such as perceived harm and support for tobacco regulation. This research may inform the FDA’s policymaking and educational efforts related to new and established tobacco products.

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