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Impact of corrective health information on consumers’ perceptions of “reduced exposure” tobacco products
  1. Lois Biener1,
  2. Karen Bogen1,
  3. Gregory Connolly2
  1. 1Center for Survey Research, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2Division of Public Health Practice, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr L Biener
 Center for Survey Research, 100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston MA 02125, USA; lois.biener{at}


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.