Objective: To determine whether providing corrective health information can reduce the tendency of consumers to believe that the implied marketing message that two “potentially reduced exposure products” (PREPs) are safer than regular cigarettes.
Design: Face-to-face interviews with smokers assigned to one of four conditions, which varied in terms of the presence or absence of health information that qualified claims made in advertising for two PREPs.
Subjects: A convenience sample of 177 smokers in Boston area.
Interventions: Health information detailed the extent to which exposure to toxins and health risks of the brands were unknown.
Main outcome measures: Respondents’ assessments of the health risks and toxicity of the two combustible PREPs, Advance and Eclipse.
Results: The health information had a modest but significant effect on ratings of health risk, and reduced perceptions that switching to the new brands would lower a smoker’s risk of cancer (OR 0.75; p<0.05). The health information had no effect on perceptions of toxicity.
Conclusions: A small dose of corrective information was effective in tempering smokers’ perceptions. A higher dose of public health campaigns would be needed to affect misperceptions likely to follow a full-scale tobacco marketing effort.
- PREP, potentially reduced exposure product
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Competing interests: None declared.