Special Issue "Behavioral Research in Regulatory Tobacco Science"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Elizabeth G. Klein
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Public Health, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
Interests: Policy as a prevention strategy; health communications
Dr. Amanda Quisenberry
E-Mail Website
Assistant Guest Editor
Department of Health Behavior, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center Buffalo, NY, USA
Interests: addiction; behavioral economics; impulsivity; tobacco regulatory science; experimental psychology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acquired the authority to regulate the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products in order to protect public health and established within the FDA a new Center for Tobacco Products. Research that can provide a scientific foundation for this Center is needed to inform tobacco regulatory policy, which includes an important role for biobehavioral science research. The goal of this Special Issue is to publish robust and innovative studies in behavioral science that highlight the importance of health behavior, health theory, health education, behavioral economics, communications, and other areas informative to this field. Behavioral science studies that include randomized controlled trials and other interventions, longitudinal studies, and biobehavioral research (such as virtual reality, eye tracking, ecological momentary analysis, fMRI, etc.) across the diversity of combustible and non-combustible tobacco products are welcomed. Priority populations, including sexual and gender minorities, youth and young adults, racial and ethnic minorities are encouraged. Studies that use health theory-informed designs coupled with robust, regulatory-focused research questions are especially welcomed for this Special Issue.

Disclaimer: We will not accept research funded in part or full by any tobacco companies in this Special Issue. For more details, please check: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/15/12/2831/htm.

Dr. Liz Klein
Dr. Amanda Quisenberry
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Communications
  • Policy
  • Behavioral economics
  • Health theory

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Integrating Self-Report and Psychophysiological Measures in Waterpipe Tobacco Message Testing: A Novel Application of Multi-Attribute Decision Modeling
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(22), 11814; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182211814 - 11 Nov 2021
Viewed by 422
Abstract
Background: Waterpipe (i.e., hookah) tobacco smoking (WTS) is one of the most prevalent types of smoking among young people, yet there is little public education communicating the risks of WTS to the population. Using self-report and psychophysiological measures, this study proposes an innovative [...] Read more.
Background: Waterpipe (i.e., hookah) tobacco smoking (WTS) is one of the most prevalent types of smoking among young people, yet there is little public education communicating the risks of WTS to the population. Using self-report and psychophysiological measures, this study proposes an innovative message testing and data integration approach to choose optimal content for health communication messaging focusing on WTS. Methods: In a two-part study, we tested 12 WTS risk messages. Using crowdsourcing, participants (N = 713) rated WTS messages based on self-reported receptivity, engagement, attitudes, and negative emotions. In an in-lab study, participants (N = 120) viewed the 12 WTS risk messages while being monitored for heart rate and eye-tracking, and then completed a recognition task. Using a multi-attribute decision-making (MADM) model, we integrated data from these two methods with scenarios assigning different weights to the self-report and laboratory data to identify optimal messages. Results: We identified different optimal messages when differently weighting the importance of specific attributes or data collection method (self-report, laboratory). Across all scenarios, five messages consistently ranked in the top half: four addressed harms content, both alone and with themes regarding social use and flavors and one addiction alone message. Discussion: Results showed that the self-report and psychophysiological data did not always have the same ranking and differed based on weighting of the two methods. These findings highlight the need to formatively test messages using multiple methods and use an integrated approach when selecting content. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behavioral Research in Regulatory Tobacco Science)
Article
Associations between Cognitive and Affective Responses to Tobacco Advertisements and Tobacco Use Incidence: A Four-Year Prospective Study among Adolescent Boys
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(21), 11666; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111666 - 06 Nov 2021
Viewed by 588
Abstract
Exposure to tobacco advertisements is associated with initiation of tobacco use among youth. The mechanisms underlying this association are less clear. We estimated longitudinal associations between youths’ cognitive and affective responses to advertisements for cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco (SLT) and initiation of [...] Read more.
Exposure to tobacco advertisements is associated with initiation of tobacco use among youth. The mechanisms underlying this association are less clear. We estimated longitudinal associations between youths’ cognitive and affective responses to advertisements for cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco (SLT) and initiation of these products. N = 1220 Ohio-residing boys of ages 11–16 were recruited into a cohort in 2015 and 2016. Participants completed surveys every six months for four years. Surveys assessed cognitive and affective responses to tobacco advertisements (which included health warnings) and tobacco use after an advertisement viewing activity. We used mixed-effects Poisson regression models with robust standard errors to estimate risk of initiating use of each tobacco product according to participants’ cognitive (i.e., memorability of health risks) and affective (i.e., likability of advertisement) responses to advertisements for that product. No associations between affective responses to advertisements and tobacco use outcomes were detected in adjusted models. However, finding health risks memorable was associated with reduced risk of ever smoking initiation (aRR = 0.57; 95% CI: 0.34, 0.95) and a reduced risk of ever SLT initiation that approached statistical significance (aRR = 0.61; 95% CI: 0.36, 1.05). Measures to increase saliency of health risks on cigarette and SLT advertisements might reduce use among youth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behavioral Research in Regulatory Tobacco Science)
Article
Longitudinal Impact of Depressive Symptoms and Peer Tobacco Use on the Number of Tobacco Products Used by Young Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(21), 11077; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111077 - 21 Oct 2021
Viewed by 578
Abstract
We examined the role of depressive symptoms in the longitudinal trajectory of the number of tobacco products used across young adulthood, ages 18–30 years, and whether peer tobacco use exacerbated the effects of the depressive symptoms. Participants were 4534 initially 18–25-year-old young adults [...] Read more.
We examined the role of depressive symptoms in the longitudinal trajectory of the number of tobacco products used across young adulthood, ages 18–30 years, and whether peer tobacco use exacerbated the effects of the depressive symptoms. Participants were 4534 initially 18–25-year-old young adults in the Marketing and Promotions Across Colleges in Texas project (Project M-PACT), which collected data across a 4.5-year period from 2014 to 2019. Growth curve modeling within an accelerated design was used to test study hypotheses. Elevated depressive symptoms were associated with a greater number of tobacco products used concurrently and at least six months later. The number of tobacco-using peers moderated the association between depressive symptoms and the number of tobacco products trajectory. Young adults with elevated depressive symptoms used a greater number of tobacco products but only when they had a greater number of tobacco-using peers. Findings indicate that not all young adults with depressive symptoms use tobacco. Having a greater number of tobacco-using peers may facilitate a context that both models and encourages tobacco use. Therefore, tobacco prevention programs should aim to include peer components, especially for young adults. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behavioral Research in Regulatory Tobacco Science)
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Article
Tailored Cigarette Warning Messages: How Individualized Loss Aversion and Delay Discounting Rates Can Influence Perceived Message Effectiveness
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 10492; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910492 - 06 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 615
Abstract
Current text-only cigarette warning labels (long-term, loss-framed messages) may not motivate positive changes in smoking behavior. The current project was a cross-sectional study examining the effects of tailored cigarette warnings on perceived message effectiveness (PME) in adult smokers (n = 512) conducted [...] Read more.
Current text-only cigarette warning labels (long-term, loss-framed messages) may not motivate positive changes in smoking behavior. The current project was a cross-sectional study examining the effects of tailored cigarette warnings on perceived message effectiveness (PME) in adult smokers (n = 512) conducted using Amazon Mechanical Turk (M-Turk) in January–February 2020. Participants were an average age of 40.7 (SD = 11.6), with the majority of the sample being female (62.2%) and White (88.9%). Participants reported smoking an average of 14.6 cigarettes/day (SD = 9.2) with an average FTND score of 4.6 (SD = 2.2). Participants were asked to complete a tobacco use history questionnaire, and mixed gambles and delay discounting tasks before random assignment to one of five message groups. The groups were based on a 2 (gain versus loss framing) ×2 (short-term versus long-term framing) between-subject design; a fifth group served as the control group. All experimental messages reported higher PME scores than the control (p values < 0.001, Cohen’s d = 1.88–2.48). Participants with shallower delayed reward discounting and lower loss aversion rates reported higher total PME scores, p values < 0.05. Our findings also suggest that loss aversion rates vary widely among smokers and that individuals are more responsive to messages congruent with their behavioral economic profile. Specifically, smokers who viewed messages congruent with their loss aversion and delay discounting rates reported higher PME scores than those who viewed incongruent messages (p = 0.04, Cohen’s d = 0.24). These preliminary findings suggest that anti-smoking campaigns may best impact smokers by tailoring messages based on individual loss aversion and delay discounting rates versus a one-size-fits-all approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behavioral Research in Regulatory Tobacco Science)
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Article
Estimating the Impact of Tobacco Parity and Harm Reduction Tax Proposals Using the Experimental Tobacco Marketplace
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(15), 7835; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18157835 - 23 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1066
Abstract
Taxes are a demonstrably effective method to suppress tobacco use. This study examined the effects of the tobacco parity (i.e., imposing taxes equally on all tobacco products) and the harm reduction (i.e., applying taxes in proportion to the products’ levels of harm) tax [...] Read more.
Taxes are a demonstrably effective method to suppress tobacco use. This study examined the effects of the tobacco parity (i.e., imposing taxes equally on all tobacco products) and the harm reduction (i.e., applying taxes in proportion to the products’ levels of harm) tax proposals on demand and substitution across products. A crowdsourced sample of cigarette smokers (n = 35) completed purchasing trials with increasing tax magnitudes across different tax tiers in the Experimental Tobacco Marketplace in a repeated-measures design. Products were placed in three tax tiers (high, medium, and no tax) according to each proposal’s goal. The results indicated that total nicotine (mg) purchased was not significantly different between the proposals, with higher taxes yielding lower demand. However, as taxes increased, the tobacco parity proposal decreased the purchasing of all tobacco products and increased the purchasing of medicinal nicotine (i.e., the no tax tier). Conversely, the harm reduction proposal resulted in greater purchases of electronic nicotine delivery systems and smokeless tobacco (i.e., the medium tax tier). These findings support tobacco taxation as a robust tool for suppressing purchasing and suggest that differential taxation in proportion to product risk would be an effective way to incentivize smokers to switch from smoked to unsmoked products. Further studies should investigate the unintended consequences of their implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behavioral Research in Regulatory Tobacco Science)
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Article
Associations between Black and Mild Cigar Pack Size and Demographics and Tobacco Use Behaviors among US Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6628; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126628 - 20 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 766
Abstract
Pack size is an important pricing strategy for the tobacco industry, but there is limited data on how users differ based on preferred pack size for cigar products. Using data from Wave 4 of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study, this [...] Read more.
Pack size is an important pricing strategy for the tobacco industry, but there is limited data on how users differ based on preferred pack size for cigar products. Using data from Wave 4 of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study, this study identified differences in adult cigar user characteristics based on pack size purchasing behavior among users of a top cigar brand, Black and Mild. Weighted chi-square tests were used to examine the associations between Black and Mild pack size and sociodemographic, cigar and other substance use characteristics. Overall, our study found that users of Black and Mild cigars differ by demographic, cigar and other tobacco use characteristics based on preferred pack size, with smaller packs appealing to younger, female, less-experienced and less-established smokers, and larger packs appealing to older, male, more experienced, and more dependent cigar smokers. Dual use of cigarettes and cigars was also higher among users of smaller packs. While this study is cross-sectional, findings suggest that minimum packaging laws for cigars may impact younger adults who are purchasing smaller pack sizes and likely experimenting with new cigar products and styles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behavioral Research in Regulatory Tobacco Science)

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Effects of Vaping Prevention Messages on Beliefs, Perceived Harms, and Behavioral Intentions Among Young Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
Authors: Villanti, A. C.; LePine, S. E.; West, J. C.; Cruz, T. B.; Stevens, E. M.; Unger, J. B.; Wackowski, O. A.; Mays, D.
Affiliation: Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology, at the University of Vermont
Abstract: The goal of our study was to develop and test messages to prevent the uptake of electronic vapor product (EVP) use in young adults. Following a two-part message optimization phase, eight messages on vaping related harms (n = 6) and addictiveness (n = 2) were selected for inclusion in an online randomized controlled trial. Vermont young adults aged 18-24 (n = 569) were enrolled in the trial and randomized to view the eight vaping prevention messages (n = 295) or eight control messages on sun safety (n = 274). After completing baseline measures on sociodemographics, tobacco use (ever and past 30-day), and tobacco-related media exposure, participants viewed study messages and completed measures on message response, EVP-related beliefs, and EVP-related harm perceptions. All participants completed EVP-related beliefs and harm perception measures at 1-month follow-up, as well as measures on tobacco and EVP-related behavioral intentions and behavior (ever and past 30-day use). Findings suggested minimal effect of vaping prevention messages on EVP-related beliefs, harm perceptions, or behaviors in the full sample. Exploratory analyses in the intervention condition showed that greater perceived message effectiveness was associated with higher perceived harm of EVPs at follow-up and lower past 30-day use of EVPs, cigarettes, and cigars.

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