The future of the tobacco industry depends on maintaining and expanding current tobacco product use, while recruiting new users to replace those who have quit or have died, particularly from tobacco related disease. Tobacco product design provides a major industry tool for innovations that undermine public health programs and support tobacco use and dependence. This project proposes to increase understanding of the design and function of tobacco products through systematic analyses of previously secret internal tobacco industry documents. The project will focus on product characteristics that encourage and enable product use and dependence among different populations of smokers. Internal documents provide a significant resource for evaluating industry knowledge of product design and effect. This research is critical to advancing scientific understanding of tobacco products and their population effects both in the short term and long term. The project is even more relevant with the Food and Drug Administration recently being given authority to regulate tobacco products in the U.S.
The first aim of this project is to analyze how product design characteristics differ across major cigarette brands and categories and to evaluate the impact of these differences on consumer acceptance, appeal, use and dependence.
The second aim i s to study how different product characteristics are used to target and affect the perceptions of high risk groups, such as female, minority, young adult and youth, health concerned, and nonsmokers, and to evaluate responses to product differences among different populations.
The final aim of this study is to examine how brand differences and product innovations affect patterns of use including increased trial and experimentation, maintenance of smoking and dependence. Our goal is to inform the scientific community and health regulators regarding the contribution of tobacco product design to patterns of use and dependence, and to help establish a science base for tobacco product regulation by the Food and Drug Administration.

Public Health Relevance

There is currently little knowledge outside of the tobacco industry on how the industry manipulates and controls product characteristics to facilitate nicotine dosing and increase appeal or on the impact of innovation of design characteristics on experimentation, dependence, and use within the targeted groups for which the innovations are intended. The goal of the proposal is to describe the primary systems of product design and the means by which these systems function, from product design, to population, to market outcome of increased use. Our project aims, taken together, will support a needed science base to inform the FDA on best practice strategies to substantially reduce tobacco product use and to protect the public's health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
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Community Influences on Health Behavior (CIHB)
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Djordjevic, Mirjana V
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Harvard University
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Public Health
United States
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Alpert, Hillel R; Agaku, Israel T; Connolly, Gregory N (2016) A study of pyrazines in cigarettes and how additives might be used to enhance tobacco addiction. Tob Control 25:444-50
Agaku, Israel T; Vardavas, Constantine I; Ayo-Yusuf, Olalekan A et al. (2014) Gender and racial differences in smoking of long/ultra-long and king size cigarettes among U.S. adult smokers, NHANES 1999-2012. Drug Alcohol Depend 136:28-35
Sokol, Natasha A; Kennedy, Ryan David; Connolly, Gregory N (2014) The role of cocoa as a cigarette additive: opportunities for product regulation. Nicotine Tob Res 16:984-91
Alpert, Hillel R; Christiani, David C; Orav, E John et al. (2014) Effectiveness of the cigarette ignition propensity standard in preventing unintentional residential fires in Massachusetts. Am J Public Health 104:e56-61
Connolly, Gregory N; Alpert, Hillel R (2014) Has the tobacco industry evaded the FDA's ban on 'Light' cigarette descriptors? Tob Control 23:140-5
Agaku, Israel T; Vardavas, Constantine I; Connolly, Gregory N (2014) Cigarette rod length and its impact on serum cotinine and urinary total NNAL levels, NHANES 2007-2010. Nicotine Tob Res 16:100-7
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Agaku, Israel T; Vardavas, Constantine I; Connolly, Gregory (2013) Proposed cutoff for identifying adult smokeless tobacco users with urinary total 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanonol: an aggregated analysis of NHANES 2007-2010 data. Nicotine Tob Res 15:1956-61
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Agaku, Israel T; Ayo-Yusuf, Olalekan A; Vardavas, Constantine I et al. (2013) Use of conventional and novel smokeless tobacco products among US adolescents. Pediatrics 132:e578-86

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