Georgia State University, along with its major partners, the University of Illinois, Chicago and RTI International, are applying to be designated as an FDA Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science. Our focus will be on a particularly important and often overlooked aspect of regulatory science: the understanding of the human and economic factors that contribute to decision-making regarding the use of tobacco products. Our proposal, entitled "The Science of Decision Making: Connecting People and Policy" will use a multi- disciplinary perspective integrating disciplines from social sciences and public health. Through three inter- related research projects, human economic behavior, consumer reaction to tobacco marketing, and individual perception of risk of using tobacco products, will be examined. We will use state-of-the-art experimental, virtual and online survey research methodology to further the understanding of factors that contribute to an individual's decision to use tobacco products. Analysis and interpretation of these results will help inform the FDA on regulatory actions that could improve accurate risk perceptions and influence the decision to use tobacco products, particularly new and emerging products. Frank Chaloupka will work with a team of economists whose work will aim to produce new evidence to inform the FDA's economic impact assessments of future proposed rules. To further the FDA's understanding of tobacco marketing, Matthew Farelly and James Nonnemaker will utilize visual immersion methodology to examine the point of purchase environment and how it can be changed to influence consumer behavior. The third project focuses on conducting consumer behavior, risk perception and media research on alternate and novel tobacco products. It will be headed by Michael Eriksen, who will also serve as the overall Program Director. This research team will conduct survey and qualitative research that will monitor the use of and perceptions about tobacco products, with special emphasis on novel and alternative tobacco products. Three core teams (Administrative, Training &Education, Developmental &Pilot Research) will be established to support the projects and facilitate interaction and sharing amongst them.
Tobacco use is both a leading preventable cause of death and fundamentally, an irrational behavior. This project proposes to conduct a series of surveys and experiments to better understand the economic, marketing and risk perceptions of current and potential tobacco users and provide FDA the scientific evidence that will assist in establishing a regulatory framework that will advance public health.