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Open Access Perceptions of the Food and Drug Administration as a Tobacco Regulator

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Objectives: The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now has regulatory authority over all tobacco products. Little is known about public awareness and perceptions of the FDA in its new role as a tobacco regulator. This research utilizes focus groups to examine perceptions of the FDA as a tobacco regulator so that the FDA can communicate better with the public about this role. Methods: We conducted 6 focus groups in 2014 in a diverse sample of smokers and non-smokers. Participants were asked if they had heard of the FDA, what they knew about the FDA, if they associated the FDA with tobacco, and their thoughts about this FDA role. Results: A total of 41 individuals participated. Although nearly all participants had heard of the FDA, most were not aware of the FDA's regulatory authority over tobacco products, did not associate the role of the FDA with tobacco, and some drew comparisons between the FDA's work in tobacco and its work regulating food and drugs. Conclusion: Data suggest that although public awareness of the FDA's regulatory authority over tobacco is low, with proper public education, the public may find the FDA to be a trustworthy source of tobacco regulation.

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Keywords: FDA CREDIBILITY; FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION; PUBLIC AWARENESS OF THE FDA; TOBACCO REGULATION AUTHORITY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 April 2017

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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