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The E-Cigarette Population Paradox: Testing Effects of Youth-Targeted Population Warnings for E-Cigarettes among Two Key Populations

Principal Investigator(s): Sahara Byrne and Jeff Niederdeppe
    
Funding Mechanism: Intra-Departmental Delegation of Authority

ID number: 1R01CA246605-01

Award Date: September 18, 2019

Institution: Cornell University


Warnings on e-cigarette advertisements and packaging should communicate the risks of e-cigarettes to youth and non-smokers while also protecting perceptions of the potential benefits of switching completely to e-cigarettes among combustible cigarette smokers. The goal of this study is to identify effective e-cigarette ad warnings given this complex population paradox. Study aims are: (1) to develop and test a set of proposed warning messages to maximize desirable outcomes among both nonsmoking youth and adult smokers; (2) to evaluate e-cigarette ad warnings that maximize favorable effects on youth as the critical at-risk population; and (3) to test for unintended effects of e-cigarette ad warnings among adult cigarette smokers who may be discouraged from switching to e-cigarettes when exposed to some types of warnings. To address Aim 1, researchers will conduct a series of 16 focus groups (30 youth aged 14-18 and 30 adults aged 19+) to identify warnings that are likely to discourage non-smoking youth from using the product but do not discourage cigarette smokers from wanting to switch completely. To address Aim 2, researchers will use a mobile lab outfitted with computing and eye-tracking technology to test the effects of promising warnings from Aim 1 in a randomized experiment with 400 youth aged 14-18 to identify warnings that increase visual attention to the warnings, decrease attention to ad appeals, increase risk beliefs, and reduce use intentions. To address Aim 3, using the same mobile lab, researchers will randomize 400 adults aged 19+ to test whether the most effective warnings among youth that emerge in Aim 2 have any unintended consequences among adult smokers; specifically, they will test whether youth-effective warnings influence visual attention, comparative risks between combustible and e-cigarettes, and intentions to use both products (switching completely to e-cigarettes, dual use, or continued smoking of combustible cigarettes) among adults. Findings may inform regulatory activities related to e-cigarette ad warnings. 
 

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