Background Policymakers wishing to encourage smokers unable to quit to switch to using electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) also need to consider how to deter ENDS use among non-smokers. We examined whether reduced-risk messages could increase ENDS’ appeal among smokers and if increased-risk messages could decrease appeal among susceptible non-smokers, occasional and former smokers.
Methodology An online discrete choice experiment tested three attributes: information message, nicotine content (0 mg or 3 mg) and flavour (tobacco, menthol or fruit). The sample comprised 352 current smokers, 118 occasional and former smokers, and 216 ENDS-susceptible never smokers. Smokers viewed reduced-risk messages that encouraged switching to ENDS, while other groups viewed increased-risk messages that discouraged ENDS use. All groups saw a typical addiction warning. We analysed the data by estimating multinomial logit regression and adjusted latent class analysis models.
Results Relative to no message, reduced risk-messages increased the appeal of ENDS uptake among one class of smokers (33.5%) but decreased appeal among other smokers. However, among all smokers, reduced-risk messages increased preference more than a dissuasive addiction warning. By contrast, among occasional or former smokers, and susceptible non-smokers, all information messages discouraging ENDS use, including an addiction warning, decreased preference relative to no message.
Conclusions On-pack relative-risk messages about ENDS could make transition more attractive to smokers while increased-risk messages could deter ENDS uptake among susceptible non-smokers, occasional and former smokers. Communicating diverse messages via discrete channels could recognise heterogeneity among and between smokers and non-smokers.
- public policy
- packaging and labelling
- electronic nicotine delivery devices
Data availability statement
All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.
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