The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products has established multiple research priorities on communication science to better inform tobacco product regulation consistent with the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (TCA). We propose a Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORS), known as the Center for Regulatory Research on Tobacco Communication (CRRTC), to conduct research relevant to FDA and this Act. The CRRTC will be led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) in close partnership with the Wake Forest School of Medicine (WFSM). The CRRTC will focus on research to assist the FDA in developing and disseminating risk messages about tobacco products consistent with FDA's regulatory authority and responsibility to protect public health. Communicating about tobacco products is one of seven overarching FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) research priority areas. The TCA requires, by April 2013, that the Secretary of Health arid Human Services and the FDA Center for Tobacco Products publicly list the harmful constituents in cigarettes and "publish [it] in a format that is understandable and not misleading to a lay person, and place [it] on public display..." Section 904(d). Our pilot data (see Research Project 1 description below) demonstrated that few people have heard of many of these constituents and that there is minimal understanding of them. In addition, few studies exist about how best to communicate information on constituents to the public. For instance, a Medline search on "tobacco," "smoking," or "cigarettes" yields 225,197 references. Including constituents or particular constituents yields 5,362 results, but only 100 references emerge when also including "communication," "warnings," or "messages." However, most of these references are not relevant to the communication needs of FDA. Therefore, FDA faces a challenge in effectively communicating about these constituents, which they are required by law to do. A growing number of novel non-cigarette tobacco products (e.g., cigarillos, hookah, dissolvables, electronic cigarettes) are also hitting the market. Currently, the FDA only has regulatory authority over cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and roll your own tobacco;however it has indicated that it will assert authority over all tobacco products, including novel non-cigarette products. FDA needs scientific data, including data on consumer attitudes and risk perceptions, to formulate effective policies and regulatory strategies. Increasingly, FDA will be communicating with tobacco product users and the general public. Communication research identifies a number of message features that impact how recipients view messages. These include factors such as the message source and how prominently the source is featured. Simply putting the FDA logo on tobacco-related communications has the potential to alter how the messages are perceived. Finally, relatively little is known about the perceptions of many vulnerable populations (including adolescents, young adults, and at-risk adults) about tobacco constituents, emerging tobacco products, and FDA regulatory authority over tobacco products.
|Kandra, Kelly L; Ranney, Leah M; Lee, Joseph G L et al. (2014) Physicians' attitudes and use of e-cigarettes as cessation devices, North Carolina, 2013. PLoS One 9:e103462|