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Perceptions of Nicotine and Relative Harm of Tobacco Products in U.S. Young Adults

Principal Investigator: Andrea Villanti

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health - Grant

ID number: 1R03CA212694-01A1

Award Date: 7/24/2017

Institution: Truth Initiative Foundation


Existing studies on tobacco harm perceptions have largely focused on the tobacco products themselves without addressing perceptions of nicotine separately. This study seeks to provide new information about the interplay between nicotine harm perceptions and tobacco product harm perceptions and how these perceptions affect tobacco use susceptibility and population-level tobacco use patterns. Researchers will conduct secondary analyses of longitudinal data from a large, national sample of U.S. young adults (4,100 young adults aged 18-34 years) using new measures of nicotine harm perceptions to examine the perceived harm of nicotine, the relative harm of tobacco products, and the impact of these perceptions on tobacco-related intentions and behavior. Study aims are: (1) to examine perceptions of nicotine and relative harm of tobacco products in a national sample of U.S. young adults and identify correlates of these perceptions (e.g., sociodemographics, tobacco use); (2) to characterize young adult subgroups based on their perceptions of nicotine and relative harm of tobacco products using latent class analysis; and (3) to describe the impact of nicotine and tobacco harm perception “class” on longitudinal patterns in susceptibility and curiosity to use tobacco and tobacco use behavior. Study findings will provide new information related to tobacco product and nicotine harm perceptions, and may inform regulatory activities related to tobacco product warning labels and other public education efforts.