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Reasons for Supporting or Opposing a Reduced Nicotine Product Standard

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Objectives: In 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a potential new product standard lowering nicotine in cigarettes to minimally or non-addictive levels. Understanding why the public supports or opposes this standard could inform messaging efforts. Methods: We collected online survey data in 2017 from 2508 respondents. We coded and analyzed the open-ended text responses describing reasons for support or opposition among those who strongly agreed (39.9% of sample) and strongly disagreed (11.4%) with the proposed nicotine standard. Results: The most common reasons for opposition were viewing the new standard as a threat to personal freedom and believing that it would lead themselves or others to smoke more. The most common reasons for support were believing the standard would help themselves or others quit smoking and recognizing the harms of smoking and nicotine. Some responses reflected inaccurate understanding of nicotine's effects, and some themes (eg, believing the standard could prevent addiction) were more common among smokers than nonsmokers. Conclusions: Findings could inform public health campaign messages from the FDA and other agencies by building on existing reasons for support (eg, would help with cessation) and counteracting inaccurate beliefs (eg, would make people smoke more).
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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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