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Market Research to Predict Emerging Tobacco Product Use in Diverse Young Adults

Principal Investigator: Carla Berg

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health- Grant

ID number: 1R01CA179422-01

Award Date: 9/19/2013

Institution: Emory University

The health risks associated with emerging tobacco products -- such as little cigars, cigarillos, snuff, dissolvable tobacco products, water pipes/hookah, and electronic cigarettes -- include misperceptions about their relatively lower health risks, their use as an alternative to smoking cessation, and their potential appeal to youth. This project involves market research on the epidemiology of tobacco product use and attitudes toward alternative tobacco products among young adults; investigators will examine whether psychographic profiles (defined by interests, lifestyles, goals, and values) of different market segments predict traditional and alternative tobacco product use in order to identify high-risk targets for health messaging. Investigators will conduct a two-year longitudinal cohort study of 1,200 Georgia college students (aged 18-25). Every four months, participants will complete a survey on tobacco product use, other substance use (e.g., alcohol, marijuana), psychosocial variables, attitudes/wants/beliefs, market research measures, exposure to tobacco-related marketing, and social factors; during the third assessment, a subset of participants representing a broad range of tobacco use patterns will provide urine samples, allowing investigators to examine biomarker levels of exposure (e.g., cotinine, NNAL). Investigators will also conduct semi-structured interviews of a subset of 60 tobacco product users from the cohort. Specific aims are: (1) to identify market segments of young adults based on their psychographic profiles using market research methodology; (2) to examine the epidemiology of tobacco use among young adult market segments over two years; and (3) to investigate reasons for use of alternative tobacco products and how to best frame messages to alter attitudes about these products and inform product regulation.

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