DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The rapidly growing demand for a new generation of vaporized nicotine products (VNPs) seen in many countries suggests these products are having an impact on cigarette consumption. The specific impact that VNPs are having and how VNPs and tobacco use behaviors are being shaped by public health policies are key questions that need to be answered. The goal of this Program Project is to extend the work of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project) to characterize the effectiveness of current and potential future policies to regulate VNPs. The timing of this project is opportune since policies regulating VNPs are evolving, and data are needed to help guide policy development. The proposed research is premised on the belief that to thoroughly assess policies regulating VNPs it is essential to do so at both the population level and at the individua-level under controlled experimental conditions. The multi-method approach described will be carried out in three countries - United States (US), England (EN), and Canada (CA)- selected because each have similar smoking rates and histories of cigarette product regulations, but divergent policies regulating VNPs. The proposed set of five inter-related studies and two core services addresses three overall aims: 1) To provide a more thorough understanding of how the policy environment influences uptake of and transitions from smoked tobacco to VNPs. The research team will implement naturalistic studies of broadly representative adult and adolescent samples (Projects 1 & 3) and surveillance of the vaporized nicotine market (Project 2) to allow between country and within-country policy effects to be studied and combining these data with data from experimental studies testing how theoretical policy options might affect the demand for VNPs in nonsmoking youth (Project 3) and adult smokers (Project 4); 2) To contribute to the development of methods for monitoring response to VNPs and future alternative nicotine products. The team will investigate differences in methods in data collection (Projects 1 & 2), study samples (Projects 1, 3 & 4), and experimental protocols (Projects 3 & 4) to see which approaches are most cost-efficient and yield the highest quality data for real-world applications in predicting responses to policy changes; and 3) To develop methods to assist policymakers in forecasting the population health impact of different product regulatory schemes. In Project 5 the group will integrate the data from observational (Projects 1, 2 & 3) and experimental studies (Projects 3 & 4), plus additional data, to model the impact of different policies on population health outcomes. Collectively, the proposed studies comprehensively examine how different VNP policy environments are influencing VNP and smoked tobacco use behaviors in the real world and the measured impact of theoretical policy options in the experimental setting. The end product of this holistic program of policy research will be a unique, multi-country evidence base with strong potential to inform policies and regulations in the US, EN, and CA and perhaps other countries as well.
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