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Nicotine Tob Res. 2018 Sep 25;20(11):1317-1326. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntx227.

US Adult Interest in Less Harmful and Less Addictive Hypothetical Modified Risk Tobacco Products.

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Office of Science, Center for Tobacco Products, Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD.
Behavioral Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD.



Tobacco companies have a history of making health claims about their new products. Such claims are now regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration. We examined consumer interest in hypothetical modified risk tobacco products (MRTPs) among current, former, and never established smokers and examined whether interest was associated with beliefs about tobacco and cancer.


Data were analyzed from the US nationally representative 2015 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS-FDA 2015; N = 3738). Interest in hypothetical MRTPs was assessed by asking participants their likelihood of using tobacco products claiming to be less addictive and less harmful than other products.


About half of current smokers and a tenth of both former and never smokers reported they were "somewhat" or "very" likely to try hypothetical MRTPs claiming to be less harmful or less addictive. Female smokers, former smokers with lower smoking harm perceptions, and never smokers who are young adults or without college education expressed more interest in these products. Interest in using these products was positively associated with believing that smoking status is a changeable individual characteristic and that it is possible for tobacco products to be made without some harmful chemicals.


We identified several subgroups of current, former, and never smokers who may be particularly affected by the marketing of MRTPs and therefore important to study to inform models of the potential population health impact of authorizing the marketing of MRTPs.


Findings about interest in hypothetical MRTPs can inform models of how the marketing of MRTPs could affect population health. Understanding which subgroups are particularly interested in MRTPs can help determine who might be important to study to inform these models. We identified several groups who may warrant specific attention: smokers who are female, former smokers who hold low harm perceptions of smoking, never smokers who are young adults or have a high school education or less, people who believe that smoking is a changeable individual characteristic, and people who believe that it is possible to make low chemical tobacco products.

[Available on 2019-09-25]

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