Assessing constituent levels in smokeless tobacco products: A new approach to engaging and educating the public

Eugene Borgida, Barbara Loken, Allison L. Williams, Joseph Vitriol, Irina Stepanov, Dorothy Hatsukami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Introduction: Providing accurate information about the constituents in nicotine-containing products may help tobacco users make informed decisions about product choices. An experimental study examined a novel approach for presenting accurate constituent information about brands and types of smokeless tobacco (SLT) that could be understood by the general public. Methods: Participants were recruited through Amazon's Mechanical Turk and presented information online about 2 constituent dimensions of SLT products-nicotine and/or toxicity (for simplicity, "toxicity" in this study refers to carcinogenic constituents) Participants completed measures of knowledge and tobacco health risks at 2 time points: before and after exposure to constituent information. Results: Participants were found to increase their knowledge that toxicity contributes to disease risk and nicotine contributes to addiction, that SLT products vary in their levels of nicotine and toxicity, and that both SLT and cigarette products have higher toxicity than medicinal nicotine replacement therapies (e.g., nicotine lozenges). Study results showed no differences when presenting toxicity information alone versus presenting it in conjunction with nicotine information, and found no misperceptions or confusions about the relative harmfulness of cigarettes, SLT, or nicotine replacement therapy. Conclusions: Providing tobacco constituent information to smokers and nonsmokers will improve their knowledge about the relative toxicity across products and variations within a class of tobacco products without compromising the health risks associated with tobacco use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1354-1361
Number of pages8
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. All rights reserved.


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