Predicting Menthol Cigarette and Flavored Cigar Smokers' Responses to Menthol or Flavored Tobacco Restrictions: Results from Experimental Auctions

Grants and Contracts Details


Restrictions on the availability of menthol cigarettes and flavored tobacco products can reduce smoking prevalence and lead to reduced cancer risk. However, these public health impacts can only occur if substantial proportions of menthol cigarette and flavored cigar smokers quit or, if they cannot quit, switch completely to lower harm products. Federal, state, and local policy makers and tobacco control advocates are considering a range of different menthol cigarette/flavored tobacco product restrictions. Understanding how best to structure policies to promote positive changes among current flavored tobacco users is a critical need. Additionally, self-reported measures of behavioral intention in response to policy may be subject to social desirability as well as lack of information about true effects of policy change. The proposed study uses experimental auctions, a behavioral economics paradigm, to better predict menthol cigarette and flavored cigar smokers’ behavioral intentions in response to various menthol cigarette/flavored tobacco product policy options. The current tobacco product marketplace has expanded and there are a range of potential substitute products available to consumers. Given this expanded marketplace and variety of policy options, this study (1) uses menthol cigarette and flavored cigar smokers’ existing demand for a variety of potential product substitutes to estimate their likely policy response, and (2) identifies factors associated with likely positive behavioral responses of quitting or switching to a lower harm product among menthol cigarette and flavored cigar users. Drawing on behavioral economics theory, the current study recruits 150 menthol cigarette and 150 flavored cigar users from the Washington, DC area using an experimental auction paradigm to determine existing demand for a range of potential alternative products including menthol, non-menthol, and flavored cigarettes, little cigars, and e-cigarettes and nicotine gum under different policy restriction scenarios. Results can inform potential Federal, state and local regulatory decisions about restrictions on menthol and flavored tobacco products and developing public health messages to better communicate and frame the benefits of potential menthol/flavored tobacco product policy change to users. Findings will help the PI establish an independent research career in cancer control research and will provide preliminary data for an R01 of behavioral response to policy. This study will help policymakers and advocates to shape the types of policy options and communication strategies most likely to maximize public health benefits for cancer control
Effective start/end date7/9/195/31/20


  • National Cancer Institute: $30,371.00


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