The Impact of E-Cigarette Warnings, Warning Themes and Inclusion of Relative Harm Statements on Young Adults' E-Cigarette Perceptions and Use Intentions.
ABSTRACT: Although e-cigarettes in the United States are required to carry one nicotine addiction warning, little is known about the impact of other potential e-cigarette warning themes, nor about pairing warnings with messages that communicate e-cigarettes' reduced-harm potential relative to cigarettes. We randomly assigned 876 young adults (ages 18?29) to view e-cigarette ads in a 3 × 2 plus control online experiment that varied by warning theme (i.e., nicotine addiction; nicotine's impact on adolescent brain development; presence of harmful chemicals) and warning type-i.e., the presence ("relative harm warning") or absence ("standard warning") of a relative harm (RH) statement in the warning label ("e-cigarettes may cause harm to health but are less harmful than cigarettes"). Warning believability, informativeness, understandability and support were high across conditions and there were no significant differences by warning theme on e-cigarette harm perceptions or use intentions nor on nicotine (mis)perceptions. Perceived warning effectiveness for discouraging youth initiation was higher for the "brain" and "chemicals" warnings compared to the addiction warning. Warnings with the included RH statement were perceived as less believable and credible and were less frequently correctly recalled. Research should continue to investigate the impact of different e-cigarette warning themes and formats with priority audiences.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:It is unclear whether warnings on electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) advertisements required by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will apply to social media. Given the key role of social media in marketing e-cigarettes, we seek to inform FDA decision making by exploring how warnings on various tweet content influence perceived healthiness, nicotine harm, likelihood to try e-cigarettes, and warning recall. METHODS:In this 2 × 4 between-subjects experiment participants viewed a tweet from a fictitious e-cigarette brand. Four tweet content versions (e-cigarette product, e-cigarette use, e-cigarette in social context, unrelated content) were crossed with two warning versions (absent, present). Adult e-cigarette users (N = 994) were recruited via social media ads to complete a survey and randomized to view one of eight tweets. Multivariable regressions explored effects of tweet content and warning on perceived healthiness, perceived harm, and likelihood to try e-cigarettes, and tweet content on warning recall. Covariates were tobacco and social media use and demographics. RESULTS:Tweets with warnings elicited more negative health perceptions of the e-cigarette brand than tweets without warnings (p < .05). Tweets featuring e-cigarette products (p < .05) or use (p < .001) elicited higher warning recall than tweets featuring unrelated content. CONCLUSIONS:This is the first study to examine warning effects on perceptions of e-cigarette social media marketing. Warnings led to more negative e-cigarette health perceptions, but no effect on perceived nicotine harm or likelihood to try e-cigarettes. There were differences in warning recall by tweet content. Research should explore how varying warning content (text, size, placement) on tweets from e-cigarette brands influences health risk perceptions. IMPLICATIONS:FDA's 2016 ruling requires warnings on advertisements for nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, but does not specify whether this applies to social media. This study is the first to examine how e-cigarette warnings in tweets influence perceived healthiness and harm of e-cigarettes, which is important because e-cigarette brands are voluntarily including warnings on Twitter and Instagram. Warnings influenced perceived healthiness of the e-cigarette brand, but not perceived nicotine harm or likelihood to try e-cigarettes. We also saw higher recall of warning statements for tweets featuring e-cigarettes. Findings suggest that expanding warning requirements to e-cigarette social media marketing warrants further exploration and FDA consideration.
Project description:Tobacco warning labels are important sources of risk information but research historically has been cigarette-centric. This qualitative study aimed to inform future direction and research on warnings for e-cigarettes. Between June and August 2016, we conducted interviews with 10 researchers with expertise in tobacco warning label research. Interviewees were registrants of a 2016 National Cancer Institute grantee meeting on tobacco warnings. Several participants agreed that the Food and Drug Administration's new nicotine addiction warning for e-cigarettes could be informative but that it might not resonate with young people. Many agreed that more than one warning would be important as e-cigarette science evolves and that research on additional warning themes (e.g., nicotine exposure, harmful constituents) and execution styles (including use of pictorials) was important. Participants were somewhat mixed about the use of reduced-risk messages within e-cigarette warnings, but agreed that research on how to communicate about cigarette/e-cigarette relative risks was needed. Overall, more research is needed on tobacco warnings for non-cigarette products, including on the message content, placement, execution and potential impact on audiences' product knowledge, risk perceptions and use intentions. This is particularly needed for products such as e-cigarettes which may have harm-reduction potential relative to cigarettes and require unique considerations.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>In 2018, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required that electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) manufacturers, packagers, importers, distributors, and retailers display an addictive or alternate warning statement on e-cigarette visual advertisements. Few studies have investigated the FDA-mandated and other warnings on social media. This study examined the prevalence and content of warning statements in e-cigarette-related YouTube videos.<h4>Methods</h4>In 2019, The Virginia Commonwealth University Center for the Study of Tobacco Products conducted bi-monthly (February-June) YouTube searches by relevance and view count to identify e-cigarette-related videos. Overall, 178 videos met the inclusion criteria. Staff coded each video for the presence of a visual/verbal warning statement, warning statement type (eg, FDA-mandated, addiction/tobacco, safety/toxic exposure, health effects), sponsorship, and tobacco product characteristics. A data extraction tool collected the video URL, title, upload date, and number of views, likes/dislikes, and comments.<h4>Results</h4>Only 5.1% of videos contained FDA-mandated and 21.9% contained non-mandated warnings. All videos with FDA-mandated and 46.2% of non-mandated warnings were represented visually. Only 13.1% of industry-sponsored videos uploaded after the mandate effective date had an FDA-mandated warning statement and videos with FDA-mandated and non-mandated (v. no) warnings had significantly fewer views, likes, dislikes, and comments. Among all non-mandated warnings, 31.3% featured an addiction/tobacco, 18.8% a safety/toxic exposure, and 37.5% a health effects warning.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The prevalence of FDA-mandated warning statements in e-cigarette related YouTube videos was low. FDA enforcement of the warning statement mandate on YouTube could increase the public's understanding of the addictive nature of nicotine in e-cigarettes.<h4>Implications</h4>The FDA has the authority to regulate the advertisement and promotion of e-cigarettes on the Internet. These data can inform future FDA requirements related to the language content and visual representation of addiction/tobacco, safety/exposure, and health effects warning statements that appear in YouTube videos and other visual social media popular among young people. Such data would help consumers make informed decisions about purchasing e-cigarette products, using e-cigarettes, and avoiding unintentional harm related to e-cigarettes. In addition, these data may help social media platforms make decisions on whether they will prohibit advertisements that promote or facilitate the sale of tobacco products.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Evidence for the health harms of e-cigarettes is growing, yet little is known about which harms may be most impactful in health messaging. Our study sought to identify which harms tobacco product users were aware of and which most discouraged them from wanting to vape. METHODS:Participants were a convenience sample of 1,872 U.S. adult e-cigarette-only users, cigarette-only smokers, and dual users recruited in August 2018. In an online survey, participants evaluated 40 e-cigarette harms from seven categories: chemical exposures, device explosions, addiction, cardiovascular harm, respiratory harm, e-liquid toxicity, and other harms. Outcomes were awareness of the harms ("check all that apply") and the extent to which the harms discouraged vaping (5-point scale; (1) "not at all" to (5) "very much"). RESULTS:Awareness of most e-cigarette harms was modest, being highest for harms in the device explosions category of harms (44%) and lowest for the e-liquid toxicity category (16%). The harms with the highest mean discouragement from wanting to vape were the respiratory harm (M = 3.82) and exposure to chemicals (M = 3.68) categories. Harms in the addiction category were the least discouraging (M = 2.83) compared with other harms (all p < .001). Findings were similar for e-cigarette-only users, cigarette-only smokers, and dual users. CONCLUSIONS:Addiction was the least motivating e-cigarette harm, a notable finding given that the current FDA e-cigarette health warning communicates only about nicotine addiction. The next generation of e-cigarette health warnings and communication campaigns should highlight other harms, especially respiratory harms and the chemical exposures that may lead to health consequences. IMPLICATIONS:E-cigarette health harms related to respiratory effects, chemical exposures, and other health areas most discouraged vaping among tobacco users. In contrast, health harms about addiction least discouraged use. Several countries have begun implementing e-cigarette health warnings, including the United States, and many others are considering adopting similar policies. To increase impact, future warnings and other health communication efforts should communicate about health harms beyond addiction, such as the effects of e-cigarette use on respiratory health. Such efforts should communicate that e-cigarette use is risky and may pose less overall risk to human health than smoking, according to current evidence.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Cigarette graphic warning labels elicit negative emotion, which increases risk perceptions through multiple processes. We examined whether this emotion simultaneously affects motivated cognitions like smoking myth endorsement (e.g. 'exercise can undo the negative effects of smoking') and perceptions of cigarette danger versus other products. DESIGN:736 adult and 469 teen smokers/vulnerable smokers viewed one of three warning label types (text-only, low emotion graphic or high emotion graphic) four times over two weeks. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:Emotional reactions to the warnings were reported during the first and fourth exposures. Participants reported how often they considered the warnings, smoking myth endorsement, risk perceptions and perceptions of cigarette danger relative to smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes. RESULTS:In structural equation models, emotional reactions influenced risk perceptions and smoking myth endorsement through two processes. Emotion acted as information about risk, directly increasing smoking risk perceptions and decreasing smoking myth endorsement. Emotion also acted as a spotlight, motivating consideration of the warning information. Warning consideration increased risk perceptions, but also increased smoking myth endorsement. Emotional reactions to warnings decreased perceptions of cigarette danger relative to other products. CONCLUSIONS:Emotional reactions to cigarette warnings increase smoking risk perceptions, but also smoking myth endorsement and misperceptions that cigarettes are less dangerous than potentially harm-reducing tobacco products.
Project description:This on-line experiment examined whether the addition of ingredient- or industry-themed warning statements in television advertisements for e-cigarettes would affect young adults' craving for and risk perceptions of e-cigarettes and combustible cigarettes, as well as intent to purchase e-cigarettes.Advertisements for two leading e-cigarette brands were edited to contain a warning statement about product ingredients or about the tobacco industry. Participants were assigned randomly to one of eight treatments or one of two brand-specific control conditions without any warning statement.Young adults (n=900, aged 18-34?years) in a web panel were recruited from three groups: recent e-cigarette users, current smokers who used combustible cigarettes exclusively and non-users of either product.Craving and risk perceptions (addictiveness, harmful to health in general, harmful to others) were measured separately for e-cigarettes and combustible cigarettes. The Juster scale measured intention to purchase e-cigarettes.Exposure to both types of warnings was associated with lower craving for e-cigarettes among e-cigarette users and smokers who experienced any craving (P<0.01) and lower intention to purchase among all participants (P<0.001). Only exposure to ingredient-themed warnings was associated with lower craving for combustible cigarettes (P<0.05). Participants who saw industry-themed warnings reported greater perceptions of general harm (P<0.001), but also rated e-cigarettes as less addictive than the control conditions (P<0.05).The addition of ingredient- or industry-themed warning statements to e-cigarette television advertising similarly reduces craving and purchase intent for e-cigarettes, but has inconsistent effects on perceived risks.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Health messages on e-cigarette packs emphasise nicotine addiction or harms using similar wording to warnings on cigarette packs. These may not be appropriate for e-cigarettes which constitute a reduced risk alternative for smokers. This research aimed to (1) develop and test a selection of relative risk messages for e-cigarette products; (2) compare these to the two current EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) nicotine addiction messages; and (3) explore differences between smokers, non-smokers and dual users.<h4>Method</h4>Twenty-six messages focusing on either harm-reduction or cessation were developed and rated by multidisciplinary experts for accuracy, persuasiveness and clarity. The eight highest ranking messages were compared alongside the TPD messages in a sample of 983 European residents (316 smokers, 327 non-smokers, 340 dual users) on understandability, believability and convincingness.<h4>Results</h4>On all three constructs combined, the two TPD messages rated the highest, closely followed by four relative risk messages "Completely switching to e-cigarettes lowers your risk of smoking related diseases", "Use of this product is much less harmful than smoking", "Completely switching to e-cigarettes is a healthier alternative to smoking", and "This product presents substantially lower risks to health than cigarettes" which did not differ statistically from the TPD messages. Non-smokers rated TPD1 significantly higher overall than dual users. Dual users rated "This product is a safer alternative to smoking" significantly higher than non-smokers. Messages did not differ on understandability.<h4>Conclusions</h4>These alternative messages provide a useful resource for future research and for policy makers considering updating e-cigarette product labelling.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:The US Food and Drug Administration requires e-cigarettes to carry a nicotine addiction warning. This research compared the effects of messages communicating comparative risk of electronic and combusted cigarettes (CR messages) with and without the mandated warning and tested the effects of showing a nicotine fact sheet (NFS) before exposure to CR messages with warning. METHOD:In an online experiment, 1528 US adult smokers were randomised to one of four conditions: (1) three CR messages, (2) three CR messages in condition one with an addiction warning, (3) an NFS followed by the three messages in condition 2 and (4) control messages. Outcomes included message reactions and perceived effectiveness, e-cigarette-related and cigarette-related beliefs and behavioural intentions and nicotine-related beliefs. RESULTS:CR messages with and without an addiction warning did not differ. The NFS condition produced higher odds of correctly understanding the risk of nicotine and stronger beliefs that switching to e-cigarettes could reduce health risks (response efficacy) than other treatments. Compared with control, all messages made it more likely for people to report e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes and increased response efficacy and switch intentions to e-cigarettes. Only NFS condition increased correct beliefs about the risk of nicotine and self-efficacy about switching to e-cigarettes. CONCLUSION:Including an addiction warning on CR messages did not reduce intentions to switch to e-cigarettes. Communicating accurate risk of nicotine together with CR messages and addiction warning increased smokers' self-efficacy beliefs about switching completely to e-cigarettes, making it a potentially promising antitobacco communication strategy.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The European Commission requires tobacco products sold in the European Union to display standardized text health warnings. This article examines the effectiveness of the text health warnings among daily cigarette smokers in four Member States.<h4>Methods</h4>Data were drawn from nationally representative samples of smokers from the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project surveys in France (2007), Germany (2007), the Netherlands (2008) and the UK (2006). We examined: (i) smokers' ratings of the health warnings on warning salience, thoughts of harm and quitting and forgoing of cigarettes; (ii) impact of the warnings using a Labels Impact Index (LII), with higher scores signifying greater impact; and (iii) differences on the LII by demographic characteristics and smoking behaviour.<h4>Results</h4>Scores on the LII differed significantly across countries. Scores were highest in France, lower in the UK, and lowest in Germany and the Netherlands. Across all countries, scores were significantly higher among low-income smokers, smokers who had made a quit attempt in the past year and smokers who smoked fewer cigarettes per day.<h4>Conclusion</h4>The impact of the health warnings varies greatly across countries. Impact tended to be highest in countries with more comprehensive tobacco control programmes. Because the impact of the warnings was highest among smokers with the lowest socioeconomic status (SES), this research suggests that health warnings could be more effective among smokers from lower SES groups. Differences in warning label impact by SES should be further investigated.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>The study examined young adult smokers' neural response to graphic warning labels (GWLs) on cigarette packs using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).<h4>Methods</h4>Nineteen young adult smokers (<i>M</i> age 22.9, 52.6% male, 68.4% non-white, <i>M</i> 4.3 cigarettes/day) completed pre-scan, self-report measures of demographics, cigarette smoking behavior, and nicotine dependence, and an fMRI scanning session. During the scanning session participants viewed cigarette pack images (total 64 stimuli, viewed 4 seconds each) that varied based on the warning label (graphic or visually occluded control) and pack branding (branded or plain packaging) in an event-related experimental design. Participants reported motivation to quit (MTQ) in response to each image using a push-button control. Whole-brain blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) functional images were acquired during the task.<h4>Results</h4>GWLs produced significantly greater self-reported MTQ than control warnings (<i>p</i> < .001). Imaging data indicate stronger neural activation in response to GWLs than the control warnings at a cluster-corrected threshold <i>p</i> <.001 in medial prefrontal cortex, amygdala, medial temporal lobe, and occipital cortex. There were no significant differences in response to warnings on branded versus plain cigarette packages.<h4>Conclusions</h4>In this sample of young adult smokers, GWLs promoted neural activation in brain regions involved in cognitive and affective decision-making and memory formation and the effects of GWLs did not differ on branded or plain cigarette packaging. These findings complement other recent neuroimaging GWL studies conducted with older adult smokers and with adolescents by demonstrating similar patterns of neural activation in response to GWLs among young adult smokers.