RESEARCH PAPER
An experimental study of the effects of electronic cigarette warnings on young adult nonsmokers’ perceptions and behavioral intentions
 
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1
Department of Oncology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Washington DC, USA
2
Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research & Policy Studies, Truth Initiative, Washington DC, USA
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Darren Mays   

Department of Oncology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, 3300 Whitehaven St NW Suite 4100, Washington DC 20007, USA
Publish date: 2016-05-26
 
Tobacco Induced Diseases 2016;14(May):17
KEYWORDS
ABSTRACT
Background:
Electronic cigarette (“e-cigarette”) manufacturers use warning labels on their advertising that vary widely in content and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning label requirement for e-cigarettes. There is limited data on the effects of these warnings on e-cigarette perceptions and other potential predictors of future tobacco use behavior in populations of interest to inform future regulatory requirements. This study examined the effects of e-cigarette warnings on perceptions of e-cigarettes and cigarettes and other cognitive precursors to tobacco use among young adult non-smokers.

Methods:
Non-smoking young adults ages 18 to 30 years (n = 436) were recruited through an internet-based crowdsourcing platform for an online experiment. Participants completed pre-exposure measures of demographics, tobacco use, and other relevant constructs and were randomized to view 1 of 9 e-cigarette stimuli in a 3 (Ad/Warning condition: Ad Only, Ad with Warning, Warning Only) x 3 (E-cigarette brand: Blu, MarkTen, Vuse) design. After viewing e-cigarette stimuli, participants reported perceptions of e-cigarettes and behavioral intentions to use e-cigarettes. Participants in the Ad Only and Ad with Warning conditions also completed a heat-mapping task assessing aspects of the ads that captured their attention. Then, participants were randomized to view cigarette ads from 1 of 3 major cigarette brands and reported perceptions of cigarettes and intentions to smoke cigarettes.

Results:
Non-smoking young adults ages 18 to 30 years (n = 436) were recruited through an internet-based crowdsourcing platform for an online experiment. Participants completed pre-exposure measures of demographics, tobacco use, and other relevant constructs and were randomized to view 1 of 9 e-cigarette stimuli in a 3 (Ad/Warning condition: Ad Only, Ad with Warning, Warning Only) x 3 (E-cigarette brand: Blu, MarkTen, Vuse) design. After viewing e-cigarette stimuli, participants reported perceptions of e-cigarettes and behavioral intentions to use e-cigarettes. Participants in the Ad Only and Ad with Warning conditions also completed a heat-mapping task assessing aspects of the ads that captured their attention. Then, participants were randomized to view cigarette ads from 1 of 3 major cigarette brands and reported perceptions of cigarettes and intentions to smoke cigarettes.

Conclusions:
Text-based warning messages influenced young non-smokers’ perceptions in a way that may dissuade e-cigarette use, but warnings appearing on advertisements had little impact.

 
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eISSN:1617-9625