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UPenn/Rutgers TCORS Project 1: The Effects of Cigarette Package Color on Smoking Behavior, Exposure and Risk Perception when using Low Nicotine Content Cigarettes

Principal Investigator(s): Andrew A. Strasser

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health – TCORS Grant

ID number: 1 U54 CA229973-01

Award Date: 9/14/18

Institution: University of Pennsylvania


Cigarettes with reduced nicotine content decrease dependence and toxicant exposure, suggesting potential public health benefits of mandating a low nicotine product standard. These findings, however, come primarily from studies using investigational low nicotine content (LNC) cigarettes in basic packaging with no accompanying marketing campaign. Thus, there is no data currently available to clarify the impact of product marketing. The goal of this project seeks to evaluate the effects of LNC cigarette packaging on two primary outcomes: smoking behavior and biological toxicant exposure. Study aims are: (1) to examine the effect of cigarette packaging on smoking behavior during LNC use; and (2) to examine the effect of cigarette packaging on biological exposure during LNC use. Researchers will recruit 500 currently daily cigarette smokers (ages 21-65) to a 35-day randomized controlled trial; after a five-day period of smoking their own cigarettes, participants will be randomized to continue smoking their own brand (control group) or to smoke investigational LNC cigarettes in one of four types of packaging (red/blue/gray/plain) for 30 days. Outcomes will include smoking behavior (daily cigarette consumption, total puff volume), biological exposure (total nicotine equivalents, NNAL, carbon monoxide), subjective ratings (taste, smoking satisfaction, perceived nicotine strength, harshness), and risk and harm perceptions. Findings will provide important information about low nicotine content cigarettes in the context of cigarette packaging.


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