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Social-Emotional Contexts of Adolescent Smoking Patterns

Principal Investigator: Robin Mermelstein

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health- Grant

ID number: 3P01CA98262-08S1

Award Date: 9/19/2012

Institution: University of Illinois at Chicago


The use of alternative (non-cigarette) forms of tobacco is gaining in popularity among young adults. This project, which builds on current research on the social and emotional contexts of adolescent and young adult smoking patterns, will examine the phenomenon of alternative tobacco use among young adults. The project involves two studies. The specific aims of the first study are: (1) to evaluate the tobacco use behaviors of individuals using new and emerging tobacco products, including multiple tobacco use behaviors; and (2) to evaluate the cognitive and affective factors associated with the use of new and emerging tobacco products. Investigators will recruit 230 young adults who regularly use alternative forms of tobacco and conduct an in-depth ecological momentary assessment of the objective (e.g., with whom, where, under what conditions) and subjective (e.g., emotional and attitudinal prompts, responses to alternative tobacco use) factors associated with use. Investigators will also assess whether acute mood changes are associated with alternative tobacco product use, and how mood and contexts interact with use and subjective experience. The second study’s specific aims are: (1) to evaluate the impact of image type on tobacco product messages and communications among young adult non-cigarette users; and (2) to evaluate how smartphone application use affects tobacco use and attitudes. Investigators will conduct a series of young adult focus groups in order to understand how smartphones are used to access health information and messages, as well as user reactions to various images and message delivery vehicles (including the use of realistic, personalized avatars to deliver messages). Based on these results, investigators will develop a smartphone application to deliver persuasive messages, test its feasibility, and assess the responses of young adult non-cigarette tobacco users. Study findings will provide data that may inform policies related to non-cigarette tobacco use.


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