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UCSF TCORS Project 4: Current and Emerging Tobacco Products in a Rural Context: Influences of Product Characteristics on Perceptions, Behaviors, and Biologic Exposures

Principal Investigator(s): Benjamin Wilk Chaffee

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health – TCORS Grant

ID number: 9-U54HL147127-06

Award Date: 8/29/18

Institution: University of California, San Francisco


In recent decades, smokeless tobacco (ST) use has shifted from an older to a younger demographic, along with increasing industry marketing and expanding diversity in ST product characteristics. New ST products include different types, brands, flavors, and levels of nicotine and cancer-causing nitrosamines. More information about how different characteristics of ST products and other tobacco products contribute to youth perceptions, initiation, established use, poly-use, and exposure to nicotine and carcinogens would be useful. Study aims are: (1) to identify the impact of ST and other tobacco product characteristics, including packaging, characterizing flavors, and product design, on rural adolescents’ perceived harm, acceptability, and appeal of current and emerging smokeless, combustible, and alternative tobacco products; (2) to characterize tobacco use behaviors over time (e.g., initiation, cessation, changes in intensity, product switching, and poly-use) and how family and social factors and specific product characteristics predict transitions in behavior; and (3) to evaluate the impact of tobacco product use on rural adolescents' exposure to nicotine and tobacco-specific nitrosamines. This study will include 1500 adolescents (aged 14-16) attending seven rural high schools in California, followed for five survey waves over 24 months. Qualitative studies (focus groups and one-on-one interviews) with adolescents and their parents/guardians will be conducted to provide information about how product characteristics and socio-contextual factors influence perceptions and behavioral decisions regarding tobacco products. Collected biomarkers (saliva specimens to measure cotinine levels; urine specimens to measure levels of the nitrosamines NNN and NNAL) will reveal how exposure to nicotine and nitrosamines varies with differences in product use and use patterns. Study findings will improve understanding of how different characteristics of ST and emerging tobacco products impact behavior and health effects in rural adolescents.


UCSF TCORS: Health, Behavioral and Economic Research on Tobacco Products: Related Resources