May 2024 News and Research Roundup

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Welcome to CounterTobacco.org’s “News and Research Roundup!” Each month we post a summary of the latest research, reports, and news stories on counteracting tobacco product sales and marketing at the point of sale (POS). Keeping up with what’s happening in the POS movement all across the country can help you choose policies and strategies that work best for your community. New research can help provide support for your work and evidence for the importance of the “War in the Store.” Have a story you don’t want us to miss? E-mail it to us!

New Research

Harm perceptions 

  • Ad watch: Oral nicotine pouch manufacturer’s reduced exposure claims require evidence and regulatory oversight, Tobacco Control 
    • This Ad Watch examines the marketing tactics of oral nicotine products, specifically the brand ‘Fully Loaded’, to portray to the public as a safer alternative due to the use of tobacco-free synthetic nicotine (SyN). Any product suggesting or making claims to be a modified – risk tobacco product must have been authorized by the FDA to do so. Claims on Fully Loaded’s website state its nicotine synthesis in ‘FDA-approved facilities’ allows its SyN to be over 99.5% pure,’ resulting in ‘zero exposure to tobacco-specific nitrosamines.’ The manufacturer of Fully Loaded has not received or filed for authorization from the FDA to market a modified risk product. Researchers within this correspondence suggest more efforts to monitor emerging products to ensure any claims made are true and authorized in order to not falsely sway the public’s perception.
    • Learn more about oral nicotine products at the point of sale. 
  • Short report: Menthol and filter ventilation in cigarettes: prevalence estimates and relationships with harm perception and smoking exposure, Tobacco Control
    • This observational study used 2013-2014 data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study to examine how varying levels of filter ventilation (FV) impact prevalence of menthol versus non-menthol cigarette use, harm perceptions, and biomarkers of exposure in the US. A total of 1,614 daily smoking adults who used cigarettes and not other tobacco products were assessed.  Results of the study indicated using non-menthol cigarettes with high and very high FV  (≥23.4%) vs low FV (≤10.04%) was associated with a greater likelihood of misperceiving one’s cigarette variety to be less harmful than other varieties. However, while users may perceive filtered cigarettes to be less harmful, similarly to menthol, the filter ventilation may make the smoke feel less harsh and cause more harm to the person smoking due to higher nicotine exposure. Researchers conclude that “While the anticipated population-level impact of the menthol ban is in the positive, there may be heightened exposures for some individuals who switch to non-menthol cigarettes, which warrants clinical trials focused on switching. These findings should not hinder the implementation of a menthol ban, but instead motivate public health initiatives to complement it, aiming to maximise smoking cessation.”
    • Learn more about menthol
  • US Adolescents’ response to nicotine warning labels in influencer e-cigarette marketing social media posts: a survey-based randomized between-subject experiment, Tobacco Control
    • An experimental study conducted in 2022-2023 among 1,910 12th grade participants in Los Angeles, California examined the effects of influencers’ e-cigarette promotional posts with varying types of nicotine warning labels on youth perception of harm, influencer credibility, and susceptibility of e-cigarette use. Findings from the experiment showed posts with a ‘tobacco-free nicotine’ warning label resulted in youth to be less likely to perceive e-cigarettes as harmful compared to youth who viewed the FDA-required label and placement on posts. No statistical difference was found in susceptibility to e-cigarette use. Influencer credibility was highest among youth who saw the FDA label.
    • Learn more about Youth Targeting at the Point of Sale

E-Cigarettes

  • Invited commentary: Time for a focus on cessation of e-cigarettes, JAMA Internal Medicine 
    • The role of e-cigarettes as a harm reduction strategy for those trying to quit smoking has long been a controversial topic of discussion. This commentary examines the harms versus benefits of e-cigarettes as a method to assist with cigarette smoking cessation while also indicating e-cigarette prevalence is highest among youth and young adults who have never smoked cigarettes. Discussion on the lack of evidence-based cessation options for those looking to quit using e-cigarettes is pointed out.
  • Use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems and Age of Asthma Onset Among US Adults and Youths, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network Open
    • A cohort study from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (2013-2021) of 7,766 adults and 17,023 youth was conducted to analyze the association between the use of e-cigarette products and the age of asthma onset. Results from the study indicate a 252% increased risk of the onset of asthma at an earlier age for adults who used e-cigarette products in the past 30 days than those who did not. No association was found between use of e-cigarettes and age of asthma onset for youth.

Tobacco Product Pricing 

  • The impact of cigarette cost on pack sales per capita consumption in the United States, Public Health 
    • Tobacco tax burden data from 1989 to 2019 was used in this study along with a two-way fixed effects model to analyze how cigarette costs impact pack sales per capita consumption across varying states in the US. Data suggests a 10% increase in the average cost per pack was related to a 9.59% decrease in per capita cigarette consumption, this showing cigarette costs have significantly reduced cigarette consumption in the U.S.

Youth Appeal 

  • Analysis of candy tobacco imitation products available online in the United States, Nicotine & Tobacco Research 
    • This study examined the extent to which candy tobacco imitation products (CTIP) are available on the market for purchase, despite evidence associating CTIP product use among youth with an increased likelihood of smoking. Results revealed 66 CTIP products available with 75% of packaging appealing to youth. Call for further research on the CTIP market and regulatory measures was made in order to prevent youth tobacco use.

New Reports and Resources 

Industry News

POS Policy in the Media

Menthol and Other Flavored Tobacco Products

Licensing, Zoning, and Retailer Density 

E-Cigarettes

Nicotine Pouches 

Preemption 

Tobacco Industry Influence 

Endgame

Find more stories in last month’s News and Research Roundup.

Know of a story that we missed? Email us, and we’ll be sure to include it in next month’s roundup!

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