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People in E-Cigarette Ads Attract More Attention: An Eye-tracking Study

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Objectives: Minimally regulated electronic cigarettes (e-cigarette) advertising may be one potential factor driving the increasing prevalence of young adult e-cigarette use. Using eye-tracking, the current study examined which e-cigarette advertising features were the most appealing to young adults as a first step in examining how to regulate e-cigarette advertising. Methods: Using a within-subjects design, 30 young adults (Mage = 20.0 years) viewed e-cigarette ads in a laboratory. Ad features or areas of interest (AOIs) included: (1) brand logo, (2) product descriptor, and (3) people. During ad viewing, eye-tracking measured participants' dwell time and time to first fixation for each AOI as well as each ad brand. Harm perceptions pre- and post-viewing were measured. Results: Participants spent the longest dwell time on people (M = 2701 ms), then product descriptors (M = 924 ms), then brand logos (M = 672 ms; ps < .001). They also fixated fastest on AOIs in that order. Participant sex significantly impacted dwell time of ad brand, and harm perceptions decreased after viewing the ads (ps < .05). Conclusions: This study provides initial evidence about which e-cigarette ad features may appeal most to young adults and may be useful when designing evidence-based policy.
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Keywords: ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES; EYE-TRACKING; TOBACCO ADVERTISING; YOUNG ADULTS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2020

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  • 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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