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  1. Research

Consumer Risk Perceptions of Tobacco Products

Principal Investigator: Carol Schmitt and Sarah Johnson

Funding Mechanism: Research Contract

ID number: HHSF223201110005B

Award Date: 9/1/2011

Institution: RTI


Consumer perceptions of tobacco product risk play a critical role in decisions to use tobacco, switch tobacco products, or stop tobacco use. The purpose of this project is to evaluate consumer perceptions of the relative risks of various commercially-available tobacco products and the potential impact of possible modified risk products and claims on those perceptions. The project consists of qualitative and quantitative research conducted with various groups of consumers, including current and former adult tobacco users, young adult tobacco users and adolescents who either use tobacco or are susceptible to tobacco use initiation. The qualitative phase of the project will involve two sets of 16 focus groups (including 8-10 participants each) conducted in person. One set of focus groups will gather information about consumer beliefs about the risks from use of various tobacco products; the second set will gather information about the impact of (hypothetical) expressed modified risk claims on consumer perceptions of risks and the potential impact on tobacco use. The quantitative phase of the project will consist of an experimental study to measure the effect of various types of (hypothetical) modified risk products and claims on consumers’ perceptions, attitudes, beliefs and possible behaviors related to tobacco products. Three thousand participants will view online images of real and hypothetical tobacco product packages and advertisements and respond to a 15-minute questionnaire that measures responses to the images and collects demographic and tobacco use information. The information collected from the study may inform the FDA’s efforts to implement the provisions of the Tobacco Control Act related to modified risk tobacco products.