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NAQC Newsroom: Research

Preference for Flavored Noncombustible Nicotine Products Among Smokers Motivated to Switch From

Tuesday, January 19, 2016  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Ellen Meier, PhD,  Rachel Isaksson Vogel, MS, Richard J. O’Connor, PhD, Herb H. Severson, PhD, Peter G. Shields, MD and Dorothy K. Hatsukami, PhD. 
Preference for Flavored Noncombustible Nicotine Products Among Smokers Motivated to Switch From Cigarettes.
Nicotine Tob Res (2015)doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntv259First published online: November 25, 2015

With passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in 2009, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was assigned the responsibility of regulating the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, smokeless tobacco and roll your own tobacco products.1 As stipulated in this law, the FDA banned the sale of cigarettes with characterizing flavors, with the exception of menthol. The goal of this rulemaking was to reduce the appeal of cigarettes among youth. To date, no action has been taken on the characterizing flavorings of any other tobacco products.

Of particular interest are the oral tobacco products, such as snus, which in the United States have been marketed towards smokers to be used in situations that do not allow smoking or as a substitute for smoking.2 The debate in the scientific and public health community has been whether these products would serve as a harm reduction tool for those smokers who want to switch to these products3 and whether the availability of flavored products would facilitate this switch.4,5 For example, Sweden observed decreased rates of smoking and smoking-related illnesses following wide-spread use of snus among smokers during the past few decades6; however, whether this could replicate to other countries where snus has only recently become available is unclear.
Although we cannot directly answer the latter question, we aim to test whether smokers willing to switch to an alternative product would prefer flavored versus nonflavored products. We analyzed data from a clinical trial in which we recruited smokers from the Minneapolis/ St Paul, Minnesota and Eugene, Oregon areas who were interested in completely switching from cigarettes to an alternative product. 

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