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"Who's Really Regulating? Who's Benefiting?" Exploring Black Stakeholders' Awareness and Trust in the Food and Drug Administration's Role as a Tobacco Regulator

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Objective: Blacks/African Americans have experienced direct public health harm from US governmental agencies (eg, police violence, Tuskegee syphilis experiment) that may influence perceptions of the trustworthiness of government messages regarding tobacco products. Consequently, we sought to explore Black Americans' awareness of and trust in the FDA's role as a tobacco regulator. Methods: Data were from 2 focus groups conducted with a purposive sample of 23 Black stakeholders in Los Angeles, California. Discussions were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim for analysis. Results: Although most (N = 14; 61%) participants were aware of the FDA's role as a tobacco regulator, they all noted that the Black community in Los Angeles is not aware. Recurrent across the focus groups were discussions about distrust in the FDA with 4 main contributing factors: (1) that the FDA is influenced by the tobacco, agricultural, and pharmaceutical industries; (2) that the FDA is influenced by money and politics; (3) that the FDA is a bureaucracy exercising monopoly and power; and (4) that the FDA lacks technical capacity and competence to regulate tobacco products. Conclusions: Study findings highlight opportunities for the FDA to increase awareness and build trust in their tobacco regulatory role through communication campaigns targeted at Black Americans, and community engagement with Black stakeholders.
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Keywords: BLACK AMERICANS; FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION; QUALITATIVE RESEARCH; STAKEHOLDERS; TOBACCO REGULATION; TRUST

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2018

More about this publication?
  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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