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Am J Prev Med. 2015 Apr;48(4):445-51. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2014.10.026. Epub 2015 Feb 25.

Food and Drug Administration tobacco regulation and product judgments.

Author information

Tobacco Control Research Branch. Electronic address:
Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, Rochester, Minnesota.
Tobacco Control Research Branch.
Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch, Behavioral Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Maryland.



The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act granted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate tobacco products in the U.S. However, little is known about how regulation may be related to judgments about tobacco product-related risks.


To understand how FDA tobacco regulation beliefs are associated with judgments about tobacco product-related risks.


The Health Information National Trends Survey is a national survey of the U.S. adult population. Data used in this analysis were collected from October 2012 through January 2013 (N=3,630) by mailed questionnaire and analyzed in 2013. Weighted bivariate chi-square analyses were used to assess associations among FDA regulation belief, tobacco harm judgments, sociodemographics, and smoking status. A weighted multinomial logistic regression was conducted where FDA regulation belief was regressed on tobacco product judgments, controlling for sociodemographic variables and smoking status.


About 41% believed that the FDA regulates tobacco products in the U.S., 23.6% reported the FDA does not, and 35.3% did not know. Chi-square analyses showed that smoking status was significantly related to harm judgments about electronic cigarettes (p<0.0001). The multinomial logistic regression revealed that uncertainty about FDA regulation was associated with tobacco product harm judgment uncertainty.


Tobacco product harm perceptions are associated with beliefs about tobacco product regulation by the FDA. These findings suggest the need for increased public awareness and understanding of the role of tobacco product regulation in protecting public health.

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