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USC TCORS Project 3: Product Characteristics, Marketing, and E-cigarette and Cigarette Use Across Adolescence and Young Adults

Principal Investigators: Rob Scot McConnell and Jessica Barrington-Trimis

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health – TCORS Grant

ID number: 2 U54 CA180905-06

Award Date: 9/14/18

Institution: University of Southern California


E-cigarette product diversity (i.e., product characteristics and associated marketing strategies) can affect product appeal and use, especially among adolescents and young adults. The goal of this project is to test hypothesized e-cigarette product characteristics and marketing strategies that may attract never-smokers and put them at risk for tobacco product use but do not affect the likelihood that young smokers will adopt and switch to e-cigarettes. Examples of product features that may disproportionately attract never smokers (vs. smokers) include sweet flavors (vs. tobacco or other flavors), devices and e-liquid compositions used to generate large aerosol clouds for “vape tricks” (vs. devices that look and feel like cigarettes), and youth-oriented marketing strategies for e-liquid naming (such as “Kustard Killer”) and packaging with cartoon images. Study aims are: (1) to evaluate the associations of: (a) product characteristics and marketing exposure with e-cigarette interest, (b) e-cigarette interest with subsequent initiation, and (c) marketing exposure with subsequent initiation; (2) to evaluate the association of (a) e-cigarette initiation with cigarette initiation and progression, or discontinuation of tobacco product use, and (b) e-cigarette product characteristics and marketing exposure with dual use, nicotine dependence, or discontinuation of tobacco product use; and (3) to evaluate whether associations of product characteristics and marketing with outcomes observed in Aims 1 and 2 differ between baseline never-smokers and smokers. Researchers will survey participants in a cohort of adolescents and young adults (ages 14-25) in Southern California.  Findings may inform future regulatory activities related to e-cigarettes.


USC TCORS: Investigating the Intersections of Products with Diverse Populations Related Resources