Skip to main content
Grant Details

Grant Number: 5R01CA179422-05 Interpret this number
Primary Investigator: Berg, Carla
Organization: Emory University
Project Title: Market Research to Predict Emerging Tobacco Product Use in Diverse Young Adults
Fiscal Year: 2017
Back to top


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): In recent years, emerging tobacco products, such as small cigars (i.e., little cigars, cigarillos), snuff, dissolvable tobacco products, and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS; i.e., "e-cigarettes"), have been introduced to the US market, while water pipes or hookah have increased in popularity. The health risks associated with the utilization of these products include misperceptions of their relatively lower health risks, use as an alternative to smoking cessation, and potential appeal to youth, among other concerns. In June 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acquired the authority to regulate the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products. The current proposal primarily focuses on two main research priority areas established by the FDA, specifically to increase understanding of: 1) the impact of tobacco product marketing on use behaviors, perception, attitudes, and beliefs; and 2) how to effectively convey information regarding risks of tobacco product use and the regulation of tobacco products. The long-term goal of this research program is to better understand the epidemiology of tobacco product use, particularly alternative tobacco product use, and attitudes toward these tobacco products among young adults through the use of market research. Market research employs a novel approach to understanding individuals by defining market segments, individuals with similar psychographic profiles (defined by interests, lifestyles, goals, and values), which are predictive of consumer behavior. No research has employed market research to improve our predictive models of tobacco use in the context of longitudinal research. This study will examine whether psychographic profiles of market segments predict traditional and alternative tobacco product use and may elucidate valuable targets for health messaging to impact attitudes regarding these products among high-risk segments. Our specific aims are to: 1) identify market segments of young adults attending colleges and universities in Georgia based on their psychographic profiles using market research methodology; 2) examine the epidemiology of tobacco use among college student market segments over two years; and 3) investigate reasons for use of alternative tobacco products and how to best frame messages to alter attitudes about these products and regarding regulation of tobacco products. Aims 1 and 2 will be addressed through a longitudinal cohort study of 1,200 college students aged 18-25. Aim 3 will be addressed using semi- structured interviews of 60 tobacco product users from the cohort. This research will provide novel information regarding high-risk youth and how to best communicate health risks associated with using tobacco, particularly alternative tobacco products, as well as how to promote support for FDA's regulatory authority. Future research will develop and test messages to promote tobacco use prevention and cessation among high-risk young adults and will address a broader range of vulnerable populations using this approach.

Back to top