DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and others have recommended taxation as an effective strategy to reduce demand for tobacco products internationally. Economists have long suggested that a policy that uses financial incentives such as taxation or price based on nicotine content could lead smokers to select lower nicotine cigarettes and that this approach has the potential to be an important public health tool. This approach appears to be especially relevant with the very recent development of cigarettes with low and non-addicting levels of nicotine, and with the FDA TSPAC and AMA's recommendations to reduce nicotine content in cigarettes to non-addicting levels through regulation. Our overall hypothesis is that pricing cigarettes based on nicotine content could be a possible approach to moving consumers voluntarily towards lower and non-addicting nicotine products. To determine if a policy of taxation or price based on nicotine content could be beneficial in helping smokers select lower-nicotine or non-addicting cigarettes, research must first address a number of key questions, including establishing the overall effect of price on the consumption and specific smoking behaviors of reduced nicotine content cigarettes. Such research would fill the important gaps related to understanding price and reduced nicotine content cigarettes.
The present study proposes to conduct a series of laboratory-based protocols to determine how up to a five-fold increase in price per puff will influence the smoking behaviors of cigarettes wit one of three levels of nicotine: high (.7mg/cigarette), moderate (.3mg/cigarette), and low (e.g., non-addicting;0.07mg/cigarette). This design will allow us examine how price will influence consumption and product choice in three scenarios: 1) the availability of only one level of nicotine content cigarette at a time, at three price levels; 2) the availability of three levels of
nicotine content cigarettes available simultaneously, all at the same price; and 3) the availabilit of three levels of nicotine content cigarettes available simultaneously, with prices increasing wit nicotine content. The methodology of this study will allow for the evaluation of price on four separate outcomes that measure exposure to nicotine in smoke: 1) puff frequency, 2) puff volume, 3) compensation (e.g., increasing puff volume while decreasing puff frequency), and 4) free-choice of nicotine content level. The data from this study may have an important impact on behavioral cancer research by helping understand how pricing of nicotine may influence smoker's behavior, attitudes and use of altered nicotine content cigarettes.
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