Principal Investigator(s): Erin L. Sutfin
Funding Mechanism: Intra-Departmental Delegation of Authority
ID number: 1R01CA239192-01A1
Award Date: September 16, 2019
Institution: Wake Forest University Health Sciences
Specific evidence related to waterpipe tobacco packaging and marketing to identify claims and determine their influence on consumer harm misperceptions would be useful. The goal of this study is to document claims on waterpipe tobacco packaging and in digital marketing (websites and social media) and evaluate how such claims influence consumer perceptions and willingness to try waterpipe tobacco. Study aims are: (1) to identify waterpipe tobacco product packaging and digital marketing; (2) to analyze waterpipe tobacco product packaging and digital marketing to determine whether they contain health claims; and (3) to evaluate the impact of health claims on young adults’ willingness to try the product, product appeal, and perceptions of harm. To achieve Aim 1, researchers will we will select a random sample of 30 waterpipe tobacco manufacturers and purchase five flavors from each manufacturer to document claims made on product packaging (150 packages). Researchers will also randomly select 30 U.S. retailers (i.e., waterpipe cafés, bars, lounges). For each of the 30 manufacturers and 30 retailers identified, researchers will capture content from their websites, as well as capture the 20 most recent Instagram (n=1,200) and Facebook (n=1,200) posts. To achieve Aim 2, researchers will content analyze all the packaging and digital marketing content captured in Aim 1. They will then use an expert panel to determine whether claims found on packaging and in digital marketing are health claims. To achieve Aim 3, researchers will conduct a randomized online experiment with 1,500 young adults (aged 18-29), including waterpipe users or those susceptible to future use, to evaluate the impact of the health claims on willingness to try the product, perceptions of harm, and product appeal. Findings will provide new information about which claims consumers perceive as health claims and may inform related regulatory activities.