Adult interest in using a hypothetical modified risk tobacco product: findings from wave 1 of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study (2013-14)

Addiction. 2018 Jan;113(1):113-124. doi: 10.1111/add.13952. Epub 2017 Sep 6.


Background and aims: The US Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act provides a pathway for manufacturers to market a modified risk tobacco product (MRTP). This study examines socio-demographic and tobacco use correlates of interest in a hypothetical MRTP in a nationally representative sample of US adults.

Design: Cross sectional wave 1 data from the 2013-14 Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study.

Setting: Household Audio-Computer Assisted Self-Interviews of US adults conducted in 2013-14.

Participants: A total of 32 320 civilian, non-institutionalized adults in the United States.

Measurements: Interest in using a hypothetical MRTP ('If a tobacco product made a claim that it was less harmful to health than other tobacco products, how likely would you be to use that product?'), socio-demographics, tobacco use history and mental health and substance use problems. All estimates were weighted.

Findings: Overall, 16.7% [95% confidence interval (CI) = 16.28, 17.18] of US adults reported interest in a hypothetical MRTP. Tobacco use was associated significantly with interest in a hypothetical MRTP, with interest most common among current established smokers (54.4%; 95% CI = 53.31, 55.39) and least common among never tobacco users (3.0%; 95% CI = 2.49, 3.55). Interest in a hypothetical MRTP was associated with experimental e-cigarette use among current experimental, current established and former smokers. Among non-smokers, race, age, education and substance use were associated with interest in using a hypothetical MRTP.

Conclusions: Among adults in the United States, interest in using a hypothetical modified risk tobacco product is low overall, and highest among current experimental and established smokers. A small percentage of non-smokers are interested in using a hypothetical hypothetical modified risk tobacco product.

Keywords: Epidemiology; Food and Drug Administration; Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health; modified risk tobacco products; public health; regulation; study; tobacco.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Tobacco Products*
  • Tobacco Use / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult