Introduction Puff Bar disposable e-cigarettes are now marketed with a ‘tobacco-free nicotine’ claim. We assessed the effect of this claim on non-tobacco-using young adults’ perceptions of and intentions of using Puff Bar.
Methods We conducted an online randomised between-subjects experiment among non-tobacco-using young adults (ages 18–29 years; n=1822). Participants viewed depictions of Puff Bar e-cigarettes with the claim that the product contains ‘tobacco-free nicotine’ (experimental group; n=909) or simply ‘nicotine’ (control group; n=913). Multivariable regressions were used to assess the associations between experimental conditions and Puff Bar use intentions, harm perceptions, use expectancies and perceived relative use of Puff Bar versus other e-cigarettes, controlling for participant characteristics.
Results Compared with the control group, the experimental group who saw the ‘tobacco-free nicotine’ claim reported higher intentions of using Puff Bar (coefficient=0.17, p<0.001). The experimental group had a lower likelihood of perceiving Puff Bar use as ‘extremely or very harmful’ (OR=0.63, p<0.001) and ‘strongly or somewhat’ agreeing with the negative expectancy of using Puff Bar (OR=0.67, p<0.001). Additionally, the experimental group reported being ‘much more or more likely’ to use Puff Bar over other e-cigarettes (OR=1.67, p<0.001).
Discussion Puff Bar’s tobacco-free nicotine claim may increase non-tobacco-using young adults’ intentions of using Puff Bar and reduce harm perceptions and negative expectancy towards using Puff Bar. The claim may also prompt the use of Puff Bar over other e-cigarette brands and types. These findings are concerning given the health effects and regulations for tobacco-free nicotine products are not immediately clear.
- advertising and promotion
- electronic nicotine delivery devices
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Contributors Concept and design—JC-S. Acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data—all authors. Drafting of the manuscript—JC-S, OG and AS. Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content—all authors. Statistical analysis—JC-S and KC. Obtained funding—JC-S and KC. Administrative, technical or material support—JC-S and KC. Supervision—JC-S and KC.
Funding This study was funded by NCI and FDA grant number R00CA242589 (PI: JC-S). KC was supported by the Division of Intramural Research, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. AS was supported by the National Cancer Institute. OG was supported in part by NCI and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) under U54CA229973. JC-S and OG were supported in part by the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey under P30CA07270.
Disclaimer Comments and opinions expressed belong to the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the US Government, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities or the US FDA.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.