The impact of product information and trials on demand for smokeless tobacco and cigarettes: evidence from experimental auctions

Prev Med. 2014 Mar;60:3-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.11.001. Epub 2013 Dec 7.


Introduction: Epidemiological and toxicological evidence suggests lower risk of smokeless tobacco (ST) products compared to cigarettes. Less is known, however, about consumer perceptions and use of novel forms of ST, including snus and dissolvable tobacco.

Methods: In this study, we conducted in-person experimental auctions in Buffalo, NY, Columbia, SC, and Selinsgrove, PA with 571 smokers to test the impact of information and product trials on smokers' preferences. Auctions were conducted between November 2010-November 2011.

Results: We found no evidence of an impact of product trials on demand in our auctions. Anti-ST information increased demand for cigarettes when presented alone, but when presented with pro-ST information it decreased demand for cigarettes. It did not decrease demand for ST products. Anti-smoking information increased demand for ST products, but did not affect cigarette demand.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that credible and effective communications about tobacco harm reduction should reinforce the negative effects of smoking.

Keywords: Communications; Experimental auctions; Information; Smokeless tobacco.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Competitive Bidding*
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods
  • Health Education / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Observation
  • Pennsylvania / epidemiology
  • Persuasive Communication
  • Product Labeling*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Social Class
  • South Carolina / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Use Cessation Devices / economics
  • Tobacco Use Cessation Devices / statistics & numerical data
  • Tobacco Use Cessation Devices / supply & distribution*
  • Tobacco, Smokeless / adverse effects
  • Tobacco, Smokeless / statistics & numerical data
  • Tobacco, Smokeless / supply & distribution*
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data