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Investigation of Consumer Perceptions of Expressed Modified Risk Claims

Investigation of Consumer Perceptions of Expressed Modified Risk Claims

Principal Investigators: Jane Allen and Alexander Persoskie

Funding Mechanism: Research Contract

ID number: HHSF223201110005B

Award Date: 8/13/2015

Institution: Research Triangle Institute


Modified risk tobacco products (MRTPs) are products whose packaging or advertising states the products are less risky than other tobacco products. The goal of this project is to understand more about how MRTPs are perceived. Study aims are: (1) to develop and validate measures of risk beliefs and knowledge about tobacco products; (2) to identify groups who may be more likely than others to misunderstand product risk information or who may be particularly affected by the marketing of MRTPs; and (3) to test debriefing procedures to reduce the lingering effects of viewing (hypothetical) risk information. Two experiments will be conducted on a total of 6,000 adult tobacco users and non-users participating in an Internet survey panel. One experiment will focus on smokeless tobacco and the other on e-cigarettes. Participants will view an image of a package or advertisement for a smokeless tobacco or e-cigarette product. The product will be presented with or without hypothetical statements about the risks of using the product compared to smoking cigarettes. Participants will then be asked about their perceptions of the risks associated with using the product, and their intention to use the product. The debriefing will explain that the statements about the product’s risks may not be true and were created for the purposes of the experiment. The debriefing will differ in terms of format (a standard block of text format vs. a more visually pleasing ‘bubble’ format) and content (standard vs. expanded content). The information collected by this study may inform regulatory activities related to the marketing of MRTPs.