Informing and Correcting Perceptions regarding Tobacco Products among Young Adults

With the decrease in the use of some conventional tobacco products (i.e. cigarettes), the use of others (e.g., smokeless tobacco [dip and chew] and cigars) has increased. Despite evidence to the contrary, new tobacco products are often perceived as less harmful to conventional tobacco products. There is a critical need to inform FDA communication of risk and harm of emerging tobacco products.

The ownership of mobile cellular phones with capacity for receipt of text messages is almost ubiquitous. This innovative mobile-phone text messaging project has two goals: 1) to assess awareness, attitudes, receptivity, and comprehension of harmful effects of conventional and new and emerging tobacco products among young adults; and 2) to examine and compare the efficacy of different types of text messages, with different types of tobacco products, to convey information to young adults regarding risks associated with tobacco product use.

For this study, we will recruit an ethnically diverse sample of students attending community colleges (n=640), each of which will be randomized to receive one of eight types of text messages. Each type of message will represent a combination of message characteristics guided by health communication theories. We will assess students’ comprehension of risks, awareness, attitudes, and receptivity in each group pre- and -post receipt of text messages over a 30-day message campaign period, and at 3-month follow-up.  Following development of the message library we will enroll manageable samples over years 2-4.