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GSU TCORS: Testing Displays and Understanding of HPHCs

Principal Investigator: Michael Eriksen

Funding Mechanism:  National Institutes of Health - Grant

ID number: 3 P50 DA036128-02S1

Award Date: 4/20/2015

Institution: Georgia State University Research Foundation


FDA is required by law to establish and make publicly available a list of harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs) in tobacco that is understandable and not misleading to the public. This study has two aims: (1) to determine how to best present information on HPHCs to consumers in a way that is understandable and not misleading, and (2) to test the relative effectiveness of different HPHC information formats by education level. In Aim 1, investigators will develop four visual formats to communicate information about the quantity of HPHCs in tobacco products. Each format will present information on the quantity of constituents selected from the list of HPHCs for which testing methods are established and widely available. The most simplistic of these formats will provide only numerical information listing the yields of constituents; the remaining formats will convey this information using visual or graphical presentations. Information about the health effects associated with each constituent will also be included.  In Aim 2, investigators will evaluate the effectiveness of the four formats by testing them in a sample of 2,000 adult smokers (ages 18 and older), evenly split between low and high education level. Participants will be randomly assigned to receive one of the four formats or no information; participants will then complete a short survey about verbatim and gist knowledge of HPHCs, understandability of the information presented, and the extent to which the information presented might be misleading. Study findings may inform regulatory activities related to the development and public dissemination of an HPHC list.