Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Which cigarettes do Americans think are safer? A population-based analysis with wave 1 of the PATH study
  1. Eric C Leas1,2,
  2. John W Ayers3,
  3. David R Strong1,4,
  4. John P Pierce1,4
  1. 1Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California, San Diego, California, USA
  2. 2Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health, San Diego State University and University of California San Diego, San Diego, California, USA
  3. 3Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA
  4. 4UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Eric C Leas, Moores Cancer Center, 3855 Health Sciences Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0901, USA; eleas{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


Although the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 (‘the Act’) essentially banned the terms ‘light’ and ‘mild’ in cigarette marketing,1 unregulated attributes may perpetuate the misconception that certain cigarettes are less harmful.2–5 To aid the discovery and regulation of attributes that lead to harm misconceptions, we used a nationally representative survey to first identify cigarette sub-brands that smokers believed were less harmful.


This sample was composed of US adults who reported smoking at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime, currently smoking at least ‘some days’, reported their usual or last-smoked cigarette sub-brand and compared its harmfulness to other sub-brands in the 2013–2014 wave (wave 1) of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health.6 Analysis was completed using the ‘restricted use file’ and was approved by the University of California, San Diego Institutional Review Board.

Respondents selected their usual or last-smoked cigarette sub-brand from a series of drop-down menus and then were asked if their sub-brand ‘might be “less harmful”, “no different” or “more harmful” than other …

View Full Text


  • Contributors JPP, JWA and DRS obtained funding. ECL and DRS were responsible for data management and analysis. ECL had full access to all the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. All authors contributed to study design, data acquisition, data interpretation, manuscript preparation and the revision process and read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding Research reported in this publication was supported by 1R01CA190347-01 from the National Cancer Institute (ECL, DRS and JPP) and RCA173299A from the National Cancer Institute and FDA Center for Tobacco Products (JWA).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Westat's Institutional Review Board approved the PATH study design and protocol, the Office of Management and Budget approved the data collection and the University of California: San Diego's Institutional Review Board approved of the data analysis.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Access to the ‘Restricted Use File’ of the Population Assessment of Tobacco Use and Health can be obtained by completing the registration process: