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Potential reduced exposure products (PREPs) in industry trial testimony
  1. Geoffrey Ferris Wayne
  1. Correspondence to:
 Geoffrey Ferris Wayne
 PO Box 183, Albion, CA 95410, USA; ferriswayne{at}


Objective: To identify patterns in trial testimony that may reflect on the intentions or expectations of tobacco manufacturers with regard to the introduction of potential reduced exposure products (PREPs).

Design: Research was conducted using the Deposition and Trial Testimony Archive (DATTA) collection of trial testimony and depositions housed online at Tobacco Documents Online ( Relevant testimony was identified through full-text searches of terms indicating PREPs or harm reduction strategies. The role and function of PREPs in testimony were classified according to common and contrasting themes. These were analysed in the context of broader trial arguments and against changes in time period and the market.

Results: Analysis of testimony suggests that the failure of PREPs in the market tempered initial industry enthusiasm and made protection of the conventional cigarette market its major priority. The “breakthrough” character of PREPs has been de-emphasised, with trial arguments instead positioning PREPs as simply another choice for consumers. This framework legitimises the sale of conventional brands, and shifts the responsibility for adoption of safer products from the manufacturer to the consumer. Likewise, testimony has abandoned earlier dramatic health claims made with regard to PREPs, which had undermined industry arguments regarding efforts to reduce harm in conventional products. More recent testimony advocates the broad acceptance of independent guidelines that would validate use of health claims and enable the industry to market PREPs to consumers.

Conclusion: Trial testimony reflects the changing role and positioning of PREPs by the tobacco industry. The findings are of particular importance with regard to future evaluation and potential regulation of reduced harm products.

  • DATTA, Deposition and Trial Testimony Archive
  • FTC, Federal Trade Commission
  • IOM, Institute of Medicine
  • PM, Philip Morris
  • PREPs, potential reduced exposure products
  • R&D, research and development
  • RJR, RJ Reynolds
  • TSNA, tobacco specific nitrosamines
  • harm reduction
  • potential reduced exposure products
  • PREPs
  • product safety
  • trial testimony
  • trials

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  • GFW is affiliated to Harvard School of Public Health

  • Sponsors: National Cancer Institute, American Legacy Foundation

  • Competing interests: none declared