Tobacco companies have recently introduced products that they claim have reduced toxins and carcinogens, and that they say may be less harmful to smokers. These are potential reduced exposure products, or PREPs. This study measured smokers' awareness of PREPs, use of PREPs, interest in trying PREPs, and beliefs about the regulation of PREPs. This study was based on nationally representative data collected in 2002 and 2003 through the American Smoking and Health Survey. The final sample included 1,174 adult smokers. Descriptive and multivariate analyses were conducted to produce estimates and explore potential correlates of the outcomes. A total of 41.9% of adult smokers reported having heard of at least one of the PREPs measured, and 11.0% reported having tried one of these products. Half of adult smokers (49.9%) said they would like to try PREPs. Interest in trying PREPs was associated with having made a quit attempt, being concerned about the effect of smoking on one's health, and having a household income of less than US$20,000. About half of adult smokers (49.1%) incorrectly believed that PREPs are evaluated for safety by the government before being placed on the market, and 84.2% believed that the government should evaluate the safety of PREPs before they are sold to consumers. This study provides new and timely information on the use of, interest in trying, and beliefs about the regulation of PREPs among a nationally representative sample of adult smokers. With half of adult smokers interested in trying PREPs, the need for concrete scientific evidence on the potential impact of these products is critical.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health