Table 1

Risk perception item characteristics

Risk perception item characteristicsDescription, (code)Example (response options) (code)
Likelihood, absolutePerceived probability that one will be harmed by tobacco product use
How likely are you to get lung cancer?
(very low, somewhat low, moderate, somewhat high, very high)51
Likelihood, comparativePerceived probability that one will be harmed by tobacco product use compared with another person, another product or another behaviour
Compared with others your same age and sex, how would you rate your risk of having a heart attack within the next 10 years?
(1. much lower than average, 2. lower than average, 3. about average, 4. higher than average, 5. much higher than average)52
ConditionalConsideration of future outcomes with respect to tobacco product use (often hypothetical) in which they might engage, with the item being contingent on certain factors
(frequency/time/product/some combination of these/no)
I can smoke a couple of cigarettes a day and still not harm my health
(strongly agree, agree, neither agree nor disagree, disagree, strongly disagree)53
(frequency and product)
Risk targetThe person who experiences the harm
(self (eg, what is your risk)/specific other (eg, 50-year-old male’s risk)/average other (eg, average person’s risk)/general (eg, what is the risk?))
How concerned are you about getting lung cancer in your lifetime?
(four-point Likert scale, 1—not at all to 4—very much)54
SeverityPerceived extent of harm that tobacco product use would cause
How serious would the health consequences be if you developed lung cancer?
(1=not at all, 2=a little, 3=somewhat, 4=quite, 5=extremely)55
AffectEmotional response to tobacco product use (eg, fear, worry, disgust)
How often do you worry about getting lung cancer? Would you say…
(rarely or never, sometimes, often, all the time)56
ControllableAbility to take action to reduce harm
Menthols are less harmful to me than non-menthols.
(each (scale) rated on a four-point scale ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree)57
KnownHarms being well known to experts or others
The evidence indicating that smoking causes serious illness is very convincing
(strongly agree, agree, don’t know, disagree, strongly disagree)58
Health outcomeHealth effect caused by tobacco
(specific (eg, cancer, heart disease)/general (eg, harm, risk, risk of disease)/hybrid (eg, risk of disease such as cancer))
What is the likelihood of getting addicted when using a water pipe socially?
(none, low, medium, high)59